|Reiseschreibmaschinen 2: The Tippa|
|In 1948, P. Gossen GmbH of Erlangen, West Germany, began production of the Tippa, a travelling typewriter much smaller than those being introduced elsewhere, and in a size and weight class directly competitive with the earlier Hermes and Corona / Smith-Corona machines. The Tippa included a number of novel features, and overall touches, which quickly earned it a good reputation; sales were small for the first few years, but took off following about 1951, and the machine was significant enough in its class that it figured (in one way or another) in the histories of several other, much larger typewriter manufacturers later. But first, we'll look around this machine to discern its features and qualities.
It appears that the Tippa was conceived by Gossen himself while working for Ernst Voss; see the Voss section for more details.
|The Gossen Tippa is styled in a reserved manner, which is distinctive but not overdone. Much of the visual appeal is due to the flat profile, and offset of chrome. Also distinctive is the hard shell carrying case with vinyl instruction and accessory flap, seen above. This machine carries the label Tippa-B on its instruction flap; this has not yet been identified further as to meaning.|
|Here we see the flat profile of the Gossen Tippa, which looks larger than it is by virtue of the case bottom. Note that the upper surface of the case bottom is color keyed to the machine; an unusual styling touch. The silver dial on the side is a touch regulator.|
|As was mentioned earlier, the Tippa incorporated a number of novel design features, one of which is the line space / carriage return mechanism and lever. The lever is actually a crank, which moves in a vertical arc, not a horizontal one as in most every other typewriter. The lever has reverse play allowed, and when the carrige is locked, the lever is rotated counter clockwise until the tip is caught by a small metal catch in the base. This allows a very tight fitting lid, and is unique to this machine.|
|Many small machines suffer from the fact that the upper rows of keys have a very small arc of travel, which brings the keytops very near the next lower row when depressed. The Tippa incorporated a feature to mitigate the short travel and small arc of the two upper rows of keys: articulated keytops. Note the grey circles seen under the top two rows of keys in this picture -- these are the hinge points. Each key has a tiny spring to keep the keytop parallel to the table on which the machine is sitting, and it remains parallel through the keystroke. Note that neither the lower two rows of character keys, nor either the backspace or margin release, has this feature; the lower rows have a much wider arc, and do not require this complexity. The design described here is also (like the line space lever) unique to the early Tippa.|
|The Gossen emblem appears several times on and around the machine; on the rear label, on the paper support arm, and on the snap holding the instruction flap. Further small, but nice styling touches.|
|As I mentioned earlier, the Tippa was often a part of other events. For example, it was the very existence of the Tippa that made Ernst Voss decide to produce his own travelling typewriter, with disastrous results for his company. The Tippa was a good enough design that it was kept in production even after its original producer, P. Gossen, was bought out by Grundig. Both makers were not solely in the typewriter business, and it may have been that the product line of Gossen as regards electronics and electrical equipment was more important to Grundig than were typewriters. Whatever the case, by 1958 Grundig owned not only P. Gossen but both Adler and Triumph as well, and the Tippa continued in other forms.|
|This is the form of Tippa which is familiar to most collectors and typists. Produced at first only under the Adler name, but within a couple of years under the Triumph name as well (as seen here.) Note the very different body, now all plastic. Both the distinctive line space lever design and the articulated keytops are gone, but the machine has added one more character key, and a ribbon selector. This design won awards in 1960 and 1962 in Italy and Germany respectively for excellence in design, and went from being essentially a small volume well-made machine under Gossen ownership to being a super high-volume, almost as well-made machine under Triumph/Adler brand production.|
|About 1969, a new version, the Tippa S, was added, and at that time Litton Industries had also bought out the entire office machine business from Grundig, including all the Triumph/Adler machines, and the Tippa as well. The S version now appeared in Royal and Imperial branding, such as this Royal Sahara. These machines incorporated many more modifications, the largest being a coversion to basket shift, while retaining almost the entire type-bar mechanism from the older design -- surely the least amount of modification that this author has seen in an altered design. Many of these were made through the mid 1970's at least.|
|As we now know, some of the older carriage shifted Tippa lived on even longer than that, and may even be in production now. The Model 100, or Jordi Traveler, contains very much of the older Tippa mechanically, and was / is produced under Chinese auspices. (Read the dedicated section on this machine for more details.)
Gossen himself very likely could not have seen that his small, travelling Tippa portable would figure in so much typewriter history, or that it would last (in one form or another) for so long. It is a tribute to his original skill in design that it did.