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Imperial 
Good Companion 1932

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In 1928, Britain's Imperial Typewriters  began to collaborate with German manufacturer Torpedo.
  Both companies had introduced interchangeability in their desk machines and both saw great potential in the market for portable machines.  The first fruit of this collaboration was the Regent machine which eventually Imperial bought the rights to entirely and re-christened 'The Good Companion' with the permission of novelist J.B.Priestley (pictured right) whose story of the same name had recently been published and had become a best seller.  The first model off the production line in 1932 was presented to Priestley by Imperial thus providing  some useful launch publicity - and a useful marketing boost. A literate public was receptive to the implicit message; "Buy a Good Companion and you too can write novels and plays like Priestley" and the machine was as successful in Britain as the Remington Portable was the US. The company also gained the typewriter 'By Royal Appointment' insignia when a machine was sold to Buckingham Palace and thus gained a valuable PR coup as Britain's  most prestigious and most visible typewriter manufacturer. A typewriter good enough for His Majesty King George V, was good enough for anyone.  Imperial continued to produce The Good Companion through seven different design evolutions until 1963 -- making it one of the longest-lived portable marques and comparable to the Corona 3 in longevity.  The Good Companion proved to be a solid, reliable and attractive machine.  It owes little to Imperial's early portable designs but is a combination of the Remington 5 with its deeply curved type basket and boxy shape, and the German-designed Diamant which it strongly resembles. The machine proved highly successful and is today one of the commonest machines found in British flea markets - though finding one in mint condition is not so easy. 
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In 1954, Imperial expanded, opening a factory in Hull and at the same time announced a new desk machine, the Imperial 66.  Henceforward, portables would be manufactured at the Hull factory while the original Leicester works would make the Imperial 66. A radically redesigned version of the Good Companion, renamed  The Messenger was produced from 1963 to 1967, but Imperial then succumbed to cheaper overseas production costs and began to import machines from Japan.  In the 1970s it was taken over by US electronics giant Litton Industries, which also swallowed up Royal Typewriters, and after a brief revival, the Imperial name  disappeared completely.

 

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