Orzeł - Adler clone

FK advert by Jan Poliński

"Big" office FK

office FK wide carriage

FK mała [small] - made under Paillard patent.
The same construction as popular Hermes Baby

Office machine from Radom - Łucznik 1002

Łucznik 1011

Electromagnetic Łucznik 1105

Portable Łucznik 1301

Łucznik 1303 (improved) with case

Production of typewriters in Poland was never huge.

Probably the first polish made typewriter was "Orzeł" [The Eagle in Polish] made at the beginning of 20s in Poznań. It was a clone of German made "Adler" [The Eagle in German], but made of worse material (especially steel and rubber). Despite some small differences all the parts were similar and could be changed among them.
Coping German inventions was very popular in 20s - since one of the clauses of Versailles Treaty (signed 1918) cancelled all German industrial patents. All issues based on any of German patents could be copied elsewhere without any obligations. Basing on these rules typewriters "Yu Ess" were produced in USA, "Heady" in France, "Tip Tip" in Czechoslovakia - all based on AEG "Mignon" patents, of course without any fee or permission.

In the 30s new, Polish brand F.K. was introduced into the market. Brand name F.K. was an abbreviation from Fabryka Karabinów [Factory of Guns]. First the French made Contins were sold under that brand, but in 1932 the production was started in Warsaw factory basing on the bought Continental patents. The models produced based to purchased patents were C28, C38 and C48. In 1937 first own model (serial D) was introduced into the market. In last month of 1938 the production of portable machine based on the Paillard patent was started. The machine was called F.K. Mała [Small]. Less than 1000 of those nice and light typewriters were made before beginning of II W.W. (September 1939).
More about Paillard typewriters can be found at Will Davis page.
Paillard idea of portable typewriter came back to Poland around 1988 when the import of those machines begun. Typewriters with brandname "AEG" were imported from former Yugoslavia and polish keystrokes were made by producer.

Shortly after II W.W. there were no typewriters production in Poland. Typewriters used in offices were imported (mainly from Czech and DDR), very popular were old German typewriters.
Purchasing the typewriter for home usage those years was nearly impossible. Due to communistic party decisions typewriters were "strategic" material as danger as guns and special permission from police was needed to buy such a dangerous toy.
Definitely easier was to purchase old used German typewriter from other private owner, or destroyed one from office and then seek someone to fix it.
Since Polish keyset is differ and include 8 specific characters all the imported typewriters had to be changed and that was additional job for lot of small workshops.
Some producers made special versions for Poland (Optima, Consul, Erika, even IBM). Probably the most interesting factory made polish character typewriter was special edition of Remington Portable made during II W.W. for Polish Forces at RAF in UK.
In the official "share of duties" established at the beginning of 60s among communistic countries all the production of office equipment was given to DDR and Bulgaria. Other countries were not officially allowed to do that, but tried.

In early 70s the decision of starting production of Polish typewriters in guns factory in Radom "Łucznik" [Archer] was made. Main reason for that decision was decreasing of military production after end of Vietnam war. New, more oriented on social needs production (typewriters, sewing machines) replaced production of guns and pistols.
Anyway 70s were not a good time for typewriters - the same time the factories of Underwood and Royal in Hartford and Remington in Elmira (USA) were definitely closed.
To start the production of typewriters at Radom plants patents from Facit (Sweden) were bought. Łucznik factory famous for their production of Kalamashnikov machine gun and Walter PPK pistol introduced into the market heavy office typewriters (mechanical and electromagnetic) and portable models (1301 - 1303) shown on the pictures on the left. During almost 20 years of producton some small changes were introduced, but there were no great break. All those machines were also available in russian version with cyrylic keystrokes. In the beginning of production brand "Predom" was used, then it was replaced by "Predom - Łucznik" and finally typewriters were produced as "Łucznik".
The production of typewriters was finished around 1990. Former factory was divided into seperate companies specialized in gun production and sewing machine production; typewriters production was finished.
Łucznik typewriters were heavy duty, of rather good quality but too heavy (even portable), noisy and of outstanding design.
The big advantage of those typewriters for illegal political oposition was a possibility to use even 5 pages with carbon copy. It was a good result, but the best - 8 copies was possible to obtain using imported from DDR "Erika".
Currently in Poland are available only electronic typewriters - imported from various countries (Brother, Triumph Adler, Sharp etc.), all are equipped with polish fonts.

Last update: 18.05.2003