Search This Blog

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!