The Empire Aristocrat

Let me introduce you to the Empire Aristocrat. Originally I thought it was a Smith Corona, but this model is a Hermes Baby clone manufactured by British Typewriters Ltd. Replicates the Hermes Baby with its characteristic gull wings protecting the typewriter ribbon wheels. Weirdly it came with a Smith Corona branded instruction manual, and it was Smith Corona who took over the West Bromwich company in the late 1950s.

I have an almost random penchant for Smith Corona. It was a Smith Corona with a faulty key that tells Glenn Close that Jeff Bridges is the psycho-murderer in Jagged Edge. Unlike other models which had a metal case this ‘portable’ comes with a faux-leather rigid case. Interesting how compared with today, it was deemed portable, especially with its cast iron chassis. It’s certainly robust. Great design, technical construction and an interesting player in the social development of the workplace.

Best dating I can come up with is 1958, the year Smith Corona took over operations, then ending the Empire portable line in favour of its own Empire Corona, another clone – this time of the Corona Skyriter.

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