Written with the assistance of the members of the German typewriter and office equipment collecting group Historischesbuero, founded by Norbert Schwarz. Contributors include Norbert Schwarz, Thomas Fuertig, and Klaus J. Brandt.
|At left, in a photo sent by Norbert Schwarz, is one of those machines which I've been after for many years, but have never found. Yet, these rare machines deserve a place on my website, and so for the first time I'm doing a feature article on a machine I do not own! This has been made possible by my German friends, who are always forthcoming with information and pictures about their typewriters and other office machines.
The members mentioned above have sent me what is known about these machines, and I have incorporated all of it in the story below.
|It is commonly known that the post-war years in Europe were ones in which there was an acute shortage of typewriters. The manufacturing infrastructure had been as badly destroyed as had the economic structure. In the years of rebuilding, the major typewriter manufacturers from before the war were all rebuilt, and restarted production. Some of the companies which had built typewriters pre-war did not re-enter the field, but other companies never before associated with typewriters entered the market. One example of this latter group was the company Metallwerk Max Brose GmbH, located in Coburg (which is in Northern Bavaria) West Germany, which did so with an extremely simple and small machine it called the BROSETTE.
Max Brose was born in 1884 in Osnabruck, and learned trades and business in his education. In 1908, he opened a shop in Berlin for the purpose of manufacturing parts both for automobiles and for airplanes. Following the First World War, he and Ernst Juhling founded Metallwerk Max Brose, again producing fabricated metal parts for automobiles. In 1928, this company began making something which it still makes to this day, which is what are called, in the German, Fensterherber, which to an American auto mechanic would be a "window adjuster," or the mechanism to raise and lower car windows.
As with almost all of the industrial companies in Germany, Brose was made to manufacture war materiel, which were for this company a diverse field; gasoline cans, igniters (for weapons like bombs) and even missiles were built there. Again, after the war, the company returned to its automotive manufacturing roots.
But then, in 1953, a curious sidetrip began. The company had developed a very flat, small travelling typewriter, which it called the Brosette. This machine was displayed at the Hanover Fair in 1953, the first year of its construction. The machine was austere, with no tabulator, 43 keys, and carriage shift. Weight in and out of the case was 9.2 lbs and 11.9 lbs.
Four models were offered -- and these were sold by specialist dealers, as no nationalized sales or distribution network was established. These were the Brosette; the Brosette Spezial, which was even simpler and less expensive; the Brosette Luxus, which was the top-of-the-line model, and the Brosette Export.
Production of the machine lasted until 1959, when it was dropped. The rights for the design, and perhaps the tooling, were sold to a firm in India, but it appears that no machines were ever actually built there. Production had totaled only about 46,000 machines, and perhaps less if Brose did not start numbering at serial number 00001.
|Here is a side view of the same machine seen above. Note the very flat profile, and the deep notch in the side panel to allow the carriage to travel.
Even among the German collectors, there is very little actual information about these machines, and searches for applicable patent information have so far turned up nothing.
|A rear view, further emphasizing the diminutive size of the Brosette. This machine appears to be in roughly the same size bracket as the slightly later ABC, but also appears to be simpler in design.|
|The same machine again, with ribbon cover removed. The simplicity of the machine is quickly obvious.
The design was, as stated, sold to some firm in India. Numerous firms were, at the time, manufacturing sewing machines in India, and it may well be one of those who bought the Brosette. The Historischesbuero members know of no actual production of the design in India, and for what it's worth, neither do I. It appears, then, that this mechanical design began and ended with Metallwerk Max Brose.
|1953 up to 13,500
BROSETTE SERIAL NUMBERS
|There is some speculation that numbering did not start at "1," but rather, more likely at 10,000. Thomas Fuertig reports that he owns a Brosette, with serial number 12,165, which does not match the illustrations used for advertising the early Brosette machines. This machine could, then, be considered as an "early" machine, and not in the main production phase as finalized. If numbering began as we assume, then something like 35,000 machines were built over a span of six years.
These machines are indeed both rare and unknown. You can't find one here; the only place is in Germany, and then this is not very easy. I'll be adding more pictures and information to this page as it becomes available; my thanks to the German collectors for providing what they can find about this very rare, yet modern portable typewriter.