Portable typewriter of the typebar, front strike design, manufactured by Seidel & Naumann of Dresden, Germany. The company was set up in about 1870 and began manufacturing sewing machines and later bicycles. In 1900 the company began production of their 'Ideal' typewriter which was very successful. The 'Erika' portable typewriter, named after the grand-daughter of company founder Bruno Naumann, was introduced in 1910 and the Erika Model 3 was produced between 1923 and 1925.

The Erika portable is a folding design. The side support arms for the carriage and platen are pivoted on an axis close to the front of the type-basket so that the carriage can be folded forward over the keyboard. The folded carriage rests on two folding supports, one at each end of the keyboard. The folded machine is stored in a small rectangulsr case.

Physical Description

Black-finished metal frame. Cylindrical platen on carriage. Plated metal support arms at each end of carriage extend forward to pivots near front of type-basket. Carriage and platen fold forward over keyboard and in folded position rest on collapsible supports at each end of the keyboard. Two folding arms (one broken off) behind platen to support paper. 30 typebars in curved horizontal type-basket. Ink ribbon carried between two spools on vertical axes. Three-row QWERTY German keyboard with 30 character keys. 'Zeichen' and 'Gross' keys to left of keyboard, 'Ruck Transport' key to right. Circular black keys with bright metal edges and white lettering. Spacebar at front of keyboard. Rectangular wooden case covered in blue cloth, with hinged lid held by two catches at front.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Information & Communication

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from S. Steinberg, 15/02/1971

  • Manufacturer

    Seidel & Naumann, Dresden, Germany, 1923-1925

  • Inscriptions

    On frame at back of type-basket, under carriage, serial number: '72489' On left of frame, in front of type-basket, a label: 'ALBERT BIEBER / Mechanikermeister / Buromaschinen-Vertrieb Fachwerkstatte / DARMSTADT, Georgenstr. 1 Ruf 3009' At centre of frame, in front of type-basket: 'Erika' On right of frame, in front of type-basket, a label: 'S & N' On front of frame beneath keyboard: '[AG vo]rm Seidel & Naumann - Dresden'

  • Classification

    Communications, Typewriting, Mechanical

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    280 mm (Width), 250 mm (Depth), 165 mm (Height)
    Dimensions of typewriter only, unfolded.

  • Overall Dimensions

    280 mm (Width), 215 mm (Depth), 140 mm (Height)
    Dimensions of typewriter only, folded.

  • Overall Dimensions

    312 mm (Width), 270 mm (Depth), 205 mm (Height)
    Dimensions of case containing typewriter.

  • Keywords

    Office Equipment, Typewriters