Serial no. P747027 – built in Sweden 1970/1

The Facit was acquired from a charity shop and came with a faux leather case, dust cover, an instruction manual and a qwerty keyboard set up for the Swedish language. The serial number was located behind the left ribbon spool. Some faults were present to do with the shift and backspace mechanisms – these were addressed as noted below.

Facit Privat in case. A carboard key retainer was made to hold keys in place when transporting.
Faux leather case was supplied with keys and typeface cleaning brush
Pica typeface output using new ribbon
Dust cover and centre of instruction manual

Other points to note

Thoughtfully, two spare springs are provided, one stored to each side within the outer casing. The ‘touch’ of the typing can be adjusted by means of a lever underneath the top plate on left-hand side. I did try this but could not readily discern much difference in the typing feel. Two tabulating systems are provided – a standard tabulator and a mechanical ‘memory’. Individual stops can be engaged and cleared with a tabulating lever on the left of the machine.

Being a Swedish product it is robustly built weighing with the case 8.7kg. Dimensions are width 35 cm, depth 32 cm and height 12 cm.

Spare spring on left inside casing
Touch adjusting lever to left under cover

Problems addressed

Although the interior of the typewriter had been well cleaned, the shift and backspace key mechanisms were not working. The former was cured with a localised spray of WD-40 (but not to be generally recommended as WD-40 can later cause more clogging), but the latter required removing the casing and investigating further. By following the linkages from the backspace key it soon became apparent that a spring-supported lever had become displaced from a slot and was causing the mechanism to lock. The lever was eased into the slot and all then worked well. Some keys still tend to stick, so further cleaning required.

Clean intrerior with casing removed
Backspacing linkage showing the slot for the lever from which it had become dispaced

History of Facit

The firm Alex Wibel, Stockholm, introduced the Facit pinwheel calculator in 1918. When the company went bankrupt in 1924 it was overtaken by Åtvidabergs Industrier. The company produced both typewriters (Halda) and calculators. The first typewriter named Facit was introduced in 1957. The designer was Sigvard Bernadotte (1907-2002), the second son of King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden and great-grandchild of Queen Victoria . A portable Facit typewriter was introduced in 1973. The designer was a Dane, Acton Björn. This typewriter came out in different colours. In 1995 the typewriter production ceased, when the Svängsta factory was closed – sourced from Typewriter collection.

It is understood that the model name is Facit Privat serie 1 ( 1958-60 ), serie 2 ( 1960-64 ) and serie 3. These were followed by various plastic machines. P in the serial number stand for “Privat” and not “Portable” and is inherited from the Halda P. TP1 and TP2 are model names used in export markets, probably to get some marketing assistance from the office machine – sourced from Typewriter database. The portable Facit had a reputation for smooth typing action due in part to the use of innovative tube-bearing carriage support.  

Further coverage of the history of Facit can be found at the Oz Typewriter.

Facit Man

Facit Man was created in the late 1950s as a cartoon character to adorn instruction manuals and promotional material for the company’s calculators. Later it was produced as model figures in various guises.

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Other Resources

Facit portable flyer
Instruction manual for Facit TP1 and another
Promotion brochure for Facit TP1
Instruction manual for Facit TP2 and another
Comment on the complexitiy of the carriage
Comments on the typeface
Facit typewriter resources

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