Those within the typewriting community generally agree that you should never pass up on the opportunity to get your hands on a Hermes typewriter. Where American, English, and German typewriter manufacturers excelled at marketing and catchy design, Hermes typewriter's Swiss roots contributed to their superior mechanical construction. Due to this, even a fifty-year-old Hermes can withstand hours of constant use; so, before you punch in your credit card information for the first Hermes you can find, take a look at these notable models and see which is the best for you.
The Story Behind Hermes Typewriters
Hermes typewriters were a project initiated by a Swiss watch and music box mechanism manufacturer called Paillard in the early 20th century. Given that they were already in the mechanical business, the company turned its sights on benefiting from the lucrative typewriter market that was booming during the 1920s and released their first round of typewriters in 1923. The company's typewriter subsidiary, now named after the Greek Messenger of the Gods, Hermes, past experience with intricate mechanics and unique design helped it become one of the most well-renowned typewriter brands in the 20th century.
Behind Hermes' Typewriter's Innovations
Interestingly, unlike many of the earliest typewriter manufacturers, Hermes' most best-selling products were only their portable machines. In essence, there are two separate types of typewriters: standard and portable. Standard machines weigh between 20-40 pounds and are meant for home/business use, while portable machines weigh about 8-12 pounds and are meant to be easily transportable. Yet, Hermes went a step further and created the first truly portable machine by making one with an extremely low-profile that could easily be picked up and moved. Hermes also patented an innovative case design for their portable machines that took a carrying case lid and hooked it into the back of the machine itself, meaning there was even less equipment that needed to kept up with.
Famous Hermes Typewriter Models
Of these portable models, there are a few that stand out for their popularity and long-lasting design. If you find one of these machines in working condition and for a reasonable price, you should absolutely grab it before someone else has the chance to. However, if you just want to browse through all of the various typewriters that Hermes produced, you can visit the Typewriter Database for a carefully tabled breakdown of the company's entire catalog.
The Hermes 2000 was first released in 1933 and was a solid, if not insignificant, portable typewriter, but later models were equipped with what would become Hermes' legendary green keys. Interestingly, some modern collectors actually prefer this model to its successor, the 3000, because of its lighter heft and very responsive movements. However, it mostly gets overshadowed, except for its devoted fans, by the other portables in the Hermes line.
The Hermes Baby was the company's first portable typewriter that really made a dent in the typewriting world. It made its debut in 1935 and wowed consumers with how ultra-slim it was in comparison to the competition. According to Typewriter Techs, it "was considered to be the iPad of its time."
Another of the company's portable machines, the Rocket had a low-profile and the signature lock-in carrying case. One of these machines is in the Cooper Hewitt collection, and they remarked upon its design saying "size could also be kept to a minimum by means of the machine's innovative method of printing capital letters by raising the carriage and roller instead of the typebars." Ultimately, the Rocket is mechanically very similar to the Baby, only having some minor cosmetic changes made.
Certainly, the most talked about Hermes in history, the Hermes 3000, is considered a great specimen of excellent typewriting design. First introduced in 1958, it came in a variety of colors, the most remembered being a unique green shade. Part of its allure was the advancements made to its visual mapping systems and its evolved functions. For instance, this typewriter was the first to have margins that were visible in the front of the paper, grouped all of the service keys together in one spot, and had an automatic tabulator to name a few of its incredible developments.
Hermes Typewriter Values
As with most typewriters, there are a couple of different factors that influence value. These include popularity, age, if it's in working condition, and if it's been restored/refurbished. Generally, typewriters from the pre-war era will cost between $500-$1,000 and typewriters from the post-war era will cost $150-$600. However, since Hermes machines are held in such high regard, their post-war machines can be evaluated at much higher amounts. For instance, one typewriter business has a 1957 Hermes Baby listed for $475 and an Esty seller has it listed for almost $500. Additionally, Sotheby's has a Hermes 3000 listed for $600, which seems to be the average for one of these working models.
Seafoam Green Looks Good on You
If you're interested in owning a working typewriter yourself, you can't go wrong with owning one of Hermes' many distinctive typewriters. If you're a person on the go, then you'll absolutely want to seek out one of their infamous portable typewriters; so, make some room on your desk for a new gadget. Besides, seafoam green looks great on everything.