21 October 2012

Remington Noiseless Portable, Serial Number N27969

My first experience with a Noiseless machine was a Remington Noiseless 6. That was a beautiful machine and a mechanical work of art. However, it had a tooth missing and that level of imperfection, as well as its massive size made it something I could not keep and I sold it along with other machines I liked but did not meet my level of need in a large typewriter.

That typewriter was massive. The typing mechanism was very large and impressive and complex. I wondered how this was going to be made portable in any meaningful sense of the word. Well, the first Noiseless models were in fact very small, and the next phase of portable Noiseless typewriters was made by Remington. The first was the Remington Noiseless Portable...because typewriter manufactures never think ahead when they make something for the first time and give it a very general name.

This is an early model. It says "Remington Noiseless Portable" on the frame in the very front under the keyboard and on the paper table, and it has plastic keys. This is something to consider. Most consider plastic to be more modern and cheaper, however, plastic is a very, very useful technology. "Plastic" is a very vague term however. We generally use it to refer to synthetic materials, which start with Bakelite. However, plastics have many properties, which is what makes them useful, not all of which are entirely desirable in most situations. That is why we use more plastic...because we have more types which are suitable for various purposes. The reason why glass keys are in old typewriters was not aesthetics, but for the properties of glass. It was hard and durable for the repetitive stress it would have to endure without losing shape or breaking. My computer keyboard uses key caps made from Polyoxymethylene, an uncommon plastic for key caps, which was not commercialized until some technical issues were resolved in 1960, long after the reign of glass keys. The Remington Noiseless Portable shows that plastic can come before glass. The first Remington Noiseless Portables, such as mine, have plastic keys. I do not know what kind of plastic. They switched to metal ringed glass keys later. The plastic keys are black with etched printing with some sort of golden fill. Very attractive.

Features of it include:

  • It is as small or smaller as similarly featured portable typewriters
  • It is very quiet
  • It is very beautiful

Noiseless machines have a reputation of having mushy keyboards. This is because there is no direct action. The pressing of the key does not end with a lever hitting something. It ends with the typing mechanism being restrained by a springed bar which allows only just enough inertia to complete the typing action. This is what makes it quiet. It is also what makes it somewhat disconcerting to type with.

But, this is not a problem. Most people are typing on cheap rubber dome keyboards which are even worse in their tactile feedback. That is, if they are not using a touchscreen. Now, as I noted above, my keyboard is in fact mechanical and has tactile and audible feedback for typing. The Noiseless action is very quiet and although it has an inferior touch, it is superior to what most people use on electrical devices of various sorts almost certainly unless one is the sort of person who pays over $80 for a keyboard just for its mechanical switches (not flashing lights and other gimmicks).

Remington Noiseless Portable

Remington Noiseless Portable


  1. Nice looking Noiseless. I have a No. 7 and do not find the touch all that bad. To me it is like some of the Hermes 3000 typewriters it just takes some getting used to it.

  2. I've always found these beautiful and seldom found them for sale - at my price, anyway. Excellent writeup of the machine, thank you.

    1. What is your price? I got a good price on this. It was from the (son of the) same person who fixed my Remington Portable and Smith-Corona 6-pitch typewriters. That is the issue. Finding them is not hard...finding them in a condition which is not bad is hard.

    2. I try to stay at $25 US or below, but will occasionally go as high as 40 for something special.

  3. Could you tell me what the outer cover of this typewriter is made of? Man thanks E