Miss Belgium = Longini

Presenting a prize for the 'most Belgian typewriter' is easy: there is only one.
Though it is not even a real one ...

Large lettering for advertisements

In 1906, Longini brings a machine onto the market with extra large capitals with which to print advertisements on paper, wood or metal. It is an odd index machine with a large vertical wheel on which you select the letters and then strike them down via two ink rollers. Then, the machine crawls a space to the right over its cogwheel. Sadly, the Longini (even with its exchangeable type) does not become a commercial success.

Forced German production

The fact that there are no Belgian typewriter brands doesn't mean that no Belgian typewriters are made in Belgium. Especially during the Second World War, the German occupier brings over the necessary production units. Sometimes that turns out badly, like it does for the Continental. As steel is scarce during and after the war, the typewriters that are made in Belgium are inferior and their buyers dissatisfied. After the war, this leads to the decline of the proud German typewriter brand.

War booty

As the factories of the Allies are producing armaments at full speed, the typewriters become gradually more scarce as the war drags on. When one of these typewriter workshops falls into the hands of  the American forces, it is a stroke of luck.
Read the story on page 15 of The Virtual Typewriter Journal (PDF).

Belgian keyboard

Is there anything Belgian to be found in the typewriter world? Yes there is: when the first typewriter arrives in Belgium in 1889, it immediately receives its own 'Belgian' keyboard. Discover the Belgian keyboard>


Agreed, Belgium is the 'tail end charlie' of the typewriter world.
Yet, in 2007, it at last joins the (virtual) club ... with this site.


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