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Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Argyle P201 is Here!!!

A few days ago I was trawling Ebay, looking for bargains when I came across a Nippo Argyle P-201 listed. I have wanted one ever since I read about them on Will Davis' Portable Typewriter Reference Site, but I never really expected to find one. It took Will a few years to find his. 
So when I found this one sitting with less than three hours left and no bids, I could not pass it up. It was only after I had put my bid on it, that I recognized the picture used as being the same on on Will's web page.

This is a mirror of Will's site.
I e-mailed the seller but he was not very helpful or willing to send me a picture of the actual item. I resigned myself to having thrown away my $35. But this afternoon the package arrived and I was astonished to find that I had received exactly what I had bid on. 
It needs some work. Two screws are missing in the carriage shift framework, so the carriage wobbles a bit when in use. I am hoping to get this fixed tomorrow if I can find screws the right size and then I can write a review of the machine. 


I was finally able to get a pair of tiny bolts to fit this machine.  They are not perfect, but they allow the machine to function without the carriage rattling like a Ford Model T driving over a freshly plowed field.  

First some basics.  The Nippo Argyle is derived from the old Halberg design.  This machine was not a commercial success, but the basic design was reused by Nippo and Royal (with Royal having mush more success than Nippo.)  

This is a carriage shifted machine with 42 keys, and no tabulator.  Being a small flat portable it has the expected dowel plate design.  The body is metal and it comes in a zippered vinyl carry case.  This serial number of this machine is 2013988.

Not to upset any fans of this machine, but I would not want to write a 300 page novel on this machine.  Even with the repairs made it has a loose and imprecise feel to it.  Not as bad as an SCM Corsair or the like, but not as good as a Brother Webster.  To be fair I do not get the impression that this poor machine was valued as a prize possession.  Many of the typebars were slightly bent, the segment plate was badly gummed up and there is a dent in the ribbon cover.

It has parallel action on the carriage lift and shifts smoothly.  Most small flat portables with carriage shift simply tilt the carriage back, a much simpler and probably cheaper to produce design.  Due to a slightly imperfect fit of the bolts I put in, the carriage does not drop on its own and has to be pushed down.  I will be correcting this at the earliest opportunity.   The alignment does not seem consistent, some of the letters do not strike the same point twice in a row.  It is not obvious, but I tend to be a perfectionist.  I though that the problem might be the bolts I replaced, but the fit more snug that the originals so if anything it is more stable than it was straight from the factory.  

My verdict is, while this is a worthy addition to any collection it is best suited for casual correspondence or notes.  Not really suitable for serious writing.  

No, it is not for sale!


  1. Thanks for the review! I don't have one of these yet.

  2. Pure luck that I got this one. I did see one listed on Etsy recently, but it had already been sold. According to will there are only a handful of these in the hands of collectors. But surely there are more out there.

  3. I just picked one of these up from a thrift shop for $20 on a whim...never bought a typewriter before and found this one on the bottom of a shelf collecting dust!

    I dont know the first thing about ribbons...what kind do i need to get for it?

  4. Dave, I get most of my ribbons at Office Max. They have a store brand by the name of Porelon. You will need ribbon number 11422. These are a nearly universal spool that fits most "modern" typewriters and fit the Argyle quite well. If you machine has the original metal spools I would recommend winding the new ribbon onto the old spools.