An Unscripted Comparison

A surprise variant on the usual tall script, in this post we take a look at how these schreibschrift (cursive) fonts from RaRo compare.

Following the Curve

Many of us who collect and are interested in the assortment of typewriters out there will sooner on Later find the dark side that is script fonts. Everyone seems to love being able to type while delivering clean yet handwritten-looking text.

Eventually we come to realize that there are many variations on script fonts, some of which are very subtle and are easy to overlook. In fact, this is the tale of one such error on my part. Queue the Tippa ultraportables.

This Tippa Model 1 has been in the collection for awhile and I've enjoyed the script font on it, though I recognized it to be the same one I had seen on many other machines around, mostly from Olympia machines.

While perusing a local vintage store I stumbled on a rough-ish Tippa S; it hadn't been put back together properly and needed some work, but I saw loops on the slugs and got it for a discount with the work it needed, so home it went. But I had many other projects with which to occupy myself so it sat for awhile. Fast forward a few months to a collector asking for leads on a machine in "Roma" script and so off the shelf it came.

Here in the states, many people are familiar with Roma, though they may not know it, as it is the traditional tall 75 script. This is how it appears on the slugs and type sample books from Olympia, Adler, and the RaRo type catalogs, Somewhere along the line however, Olympia seemed to think it wise to omit that name and only the Script 75 would remain in the catalog. From my limited experience I have seen many more Olympia machines in script than I have Adlers, and most collectors refer to scripts by their RaRo slug numbers on by specifying "Tall”.

These machines are easily distinguished by their long descenders on the E & C characters, which they achieve by slanting the characters. It's easy to tell apart, if you look. Clearly I just skimmed over this Tippa however as something was quite different when I went to get a type sample from the Model S I had just pulled down from the shelf.

Don't worry, I won't deprive you of seeing this lovely surprise, we'll switch here to see this other script. If you're reading the web text version, consider scrolling down to see the two side-by-side.

Curiously, here was a slightly rounder, swoopier, but much shorter style of script. On my model 1 which very rarely looked good in single line spacing was suddenly a very compact letterform. At first I had presumed that the presence of a 7 in the slug Would be enough to distinguish it from the #69 ones Also found on the Olympia machines. Here was proof that I was wrong!

Okay, what was it then? Closer examination showed the slugs were in fact #77, which also turns up in the RaRo catalog as the “Napoli” style script This wasn’t the first time I had seen this entry, but the type sample in my usual catalog did not show the more distinctive characters and so it did not stand out in my mind. In addition to the more obvious of the differences, the lowercase L has a much loopier quality and many of the uppercase ones Look less stylized than in the Roma script. For example the C and Z are much more traditional in appearance.

Despite these minor differences, both are lovely fonts to type with, and I have also enjoyed the machines these slugs live on as well. Be sure to check below for the side-by-side comparison of these two typesamples and the raw text of this post.

*A postscript - I use a small OCR (optical character recognition) script to extract the text from my posts so that I can type them out on a typewriter and then simply take a picture and copy-paste the text into a blog post. What I realized is that script fonts generally seem to throw the text model, often leading to humorously incorrect transcriptions like "the dank side" which I elected to leave un-corrected. That said, this #77 font is particularly bad for character recognition. Perhaps it’s a result of the text contrast and it may need a darker impression, but either way it required much more proofreading and editing than the usual #75.

References & Links

1970 RaRo Catalog on Munk's blog