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Royal Bar-lock (shift)

First year of production:
Columbia Typewriter Company , New York , USA
Serial nr:
D 1251

There is considerable confusion about the model number and date of manufacture of the Bar-lock typewriter with a single keyboard and shift system. Different authors name different models and dates. According to the latest research, the shift model of the Bar-lock was built from 1904, but only in very limited numbers.

A 1905 American ad for the single keyboard Bar-lock 
The machine shown here does not have a model number, although other (possibly later) single keyboard Bar-locks are known with model numbers starting with 12. This machine is also the only known example of a single shift Royal Bar-lock. Royal Bar-lock was the name that was used to market the machine in Britain and the rest of Europe. The machine has a keyboard with German accents and a name shield of a Berlin seller on the front.

The Bar-lock name was derived from the fact that the machine aligned the type by catching the typebars between a semi-circular row of vertical pins in front of the platen (pics 5 and 6). The name was maintained after the US company sold out to a British manufacturer that produced a series of regular 4-row frontstrike machines until the 1950s.

The models 8 and 10 of the Bar-lock had a simple brass name shield that was painted black. The embossed name shone through in brass. Some owners took all the paint off the shield and created their own spectacular variation, with a shiny brass name shield.

Earlier models were fitted with more elaborately decorated shields.

Courtesy of: Rzepka collection