|CONSUL portables 2: the small machines|
|This is the oldest "small" CONSUL portable documented; it has a date code of "0" which I interpret as 1960. This machine, by its serial number coding, is a Model 1531, and can be seen to exhibit some correlating features with the ZP series of desk model portables; white outer keys, and a chrome script emblem.|
|The "script" emblem is seen at left, in the later, white plastic version, which is found on machines with a date code later than 3, interpreted as 1963. The 232 machines all have the sheet end indicator on the left carriage end, as seen at right; a handy feature.|
|At right, we see the Model 1531 with another Model 232.. Keys are now all grey instead of green and white, and the white emblem replaces the chrome. Keytop shape, though, is still the early flat style. These machines do not have tabs or ribbon color selector, and are "no-frills." Many can be found in attractive two-tone scheme, as here. (Right, s/n 5 232 298786.)|
|It appears as if the Model 31 was replaced by the Model 232, and in 1963, a Model 233 was added (shown at left.) This machine employs a new body shape which is much more square, new blocky shaped plastic keytops, has a ribbon color selector (dial left of keyboard) and a tabulator key. Tab stops are set and cleared with the dial on the right of the keyboard. Two character keys are added beginning with the 233. (Left, s/n 3 233 009437.)
Model numbers over the years increased in digits; the Model 221 larger portable was replaced, it appears, by a Model 2223 in the 1970's.
|These machines can also be found in two-tone paint; at right is an example of this. The machine itself is a CONSUL 233, but carries the label of BALDWIN, thought to have been applied by Bundy Typewriter, Philadelphia, USA. (S/N 6 233 040454.)
The author owns a couple other Consul machines which have Bundy Typewriter stickers (for sales / service reference,) which means that Bundy either sold these machines, or else some other firm was distributing a number of them -- at least in the Philadelphia area in the middle 1960's.
|At right is a machine which displays all of the "later" features of CONSUL portables, as well as a totally new body style. This is a CONSUL 231.2 -- yet another anomaly in model numbering with a digit added after a decimal point. One feature of machines this late (after about 1967) is the use of a sticker on the rear which states the model number. Also visible is the black, sans-serif logo style, but the blocky style keytops remain. This machine is mechanically like the 31/232 but adds two extra keys, or four figures. It does not have tabs or ribbon selector, but many other slight improvements are also present all over the machine. This machine dates to 1968. As with the larger machines, quality improved over time, as did weight. (S/N 8 231 252889.)|
|Early machines, up to 1963 Two-color keys, chrome cursive emblem, flat keytops
Middle machines, 1963-1966 Keys all same color, white cursive emblem, block keytops
Later machines, 1966-? Keys all same color, black sans-serif emblem, block keytops
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|Zbrojovka Brno maintained production of typewriters until 1977, at which point it sold rights and tooling to an outfit called RVHP. This was a part of the de-nationalization of Czech industries. That company appears to have survived about eleven years, ending production in 1988. However, by 1992, a new company known as REMAGG Sro had been launched, and began building typewriters under the Consul name. It is not known if these machines actually used the tooling from the original production, although it's likely. The company soon called itself the largest producer of manual and electric typewriters in Europe. Perhaps it was, but in any event it didn't last very long as REMAGG dropped all office machines in 1998.|
|To see the internal construction of these machines, click here.|
|In 1959 or 1960, after Zbrojovka Brno's production of large portable typewriters had been in progress for approximately two years, the company launched a second variety of portable. This was a small, lightweight travelling typewriter which fit into that smallest class of modern machine occupied previously by such machines as the Hermes Baby, the Antares, and others. The machine appears to have been a success from the start, and relatively speaking, many more of these are to be found today than are the desk model machines. They were only sold occasionally in the United States, but it appears as if they were sold well in West Germany.|
|The light weight of these machines was achieved in part through the use of very simple and quite thin stampings for the main frame members of the machine. Here, we see a slightly later Consul 232 with all cosmetic shrouding removed, illustrating just how small the "machine" part of this machine is. (S/N 4 232 210734.)|
|Model 1531 was replaced by a virtually identical Model 232. The main visual difference is the change in keytops; on the 31, green keys are used for all characters, with function being white. On Model 232 machines, they're all gray, as seen here. Serial number 5 232 291108.|
|by WILL DAVIS|
|Consul Model 1531 s/n 031133364|
|Tilman Elster owns a number of Consul portables, and relabeled ones as well. The machine seen here carries the name BRIGITTE, which is just one of several feminine names under which the Consul 232 was sold in West Germany. This example has a very attractive gold-colored name emblem, which is unusual. Serial 2 232 125335. This is the earliest Model 232 known, since the serial indicates 1962.|
|At right, another machine owned by Tilman Elster. This is again a Consul 232, serial number 4 232 256052.|
|Tilman Elster contributes this shot, of another Consul 233. This machine is serial number 6 233 034961.
Note the white circular object on the side of the machine. This is a plastic disc which prevents the carriage return lever from scratching the paint on the top cover, when the return lever is positioned for storage. This is found on virtually all 232 and 233 models.
|Tilman Elster's Consul 231.2. Interesting feature: The entire top of this machine comes off, serving as ribbon cover as well. It extends all the way around the front of the machine, in front of the space bar.|
|CONSUL machines also appeared in Canada bearing the COMMODORE name. Click here to see these machines.|