The typewriter was made in 1977 and the Silverette was the most basic in the Silver Reed range. Having been used only a few times since new it was in pristine condition and worked perfectly from the start after a new ribbon was fitted. These machines were also produced for other manufacturers so be careful that your Royal, Imperial or other portable typewriter is not a Seiko Silver Reed.
Features (not many really)
The cover is made of impact resistant plastic (?) and seems a little better than the self-destructing plastic used by other manufacturers of the time and the colour is a disgusting mustard yellow, all very 1970’s. It is a well designed and engineered, if rather basic machine and I have found no problems reported as regards reliability. The size and weight placing it in the lightweight rather than the home portable class. It is an all metal, single colour machine with no tabulator, touch adjustment or rather annoyingly, a paper rest. The line indicator goes from half a line, then one, two lines and zero for line drawing. The margin release also can be used to return the keys if you stack a couple together.
Right from the start you are aware of how noisy this machine is. This failed the family cat test with the racket it made and is likely to make the natives restless if used late at night. My normally tolerant daughter complained of the noise at night so best used during the day when there is nobody around to annoy. It has a fairly light touch about mid point of most machines that are adjustable. All controls were in the usual places and the keyboard held no surprises except for having a decimal point key and a zero. Pity they could not have stretched to having a one key as well on this budget model though. Our banana fingered touch typist didn’t catch any keys and our petite teen didn’t break any fingernails. Even our two fingered typists managed an even print. The results were good using 80gsm headed paper and a backing sheet. It also managed reasonably good print results on up to two carbon copies and it produced clear results on a single line of Banda master if anyone still uses a spirit duplicator. For a stencil you would have to remove the ribbon, it clearly is not designed to do them and we didn’t try to do one. I found changing the ribbon was a real pain to do as well. It has a triangular plate and scale for line drawing too. Typing speed usually depends on how comfortable you feel and I found myself naturally typing at a fairly good speed. In the great outdoors it was quite comfortable with the machine on my lap for short periods. It also makes a good bird scarer too.
The Silverette is a robust machine that does everything it was designed to do and does it well if not exceptionally so. It is very noisy and not a machine to use late at night. These typewriters sold on price alone, there are far, far better machines out there. In a word it is an unremarkable machine. Typewriters have always been considered to be expensive items in the UK and in the seventies these prices still represented a big slice out of the average wage.
Prices in 1977 were £36 for this machine, £40 for the two colour ribbon and £44 for the tabulator model. I doubt if they are collectable or desirable, not rare and they fetch little money in charity shops or car boot sales, usually about £5. On Auction sites like Ebay they sometimes go for up to £40 at weekends but mid week you should be able to pick up a good little used one for around the £10 mark or less.
Not the best lightweight portable by any means, they are however a reliable workhorse well suited to typing letters and envelopes but the lack of a paper rest is disappointing. I have had this typewriter for four years now and although I prefer to use one of my other typewriters at home, I often take this one with me on my travels. When not in the boot of the car it resides by the writing desk in case anybody wants to type off the odd envelope.