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armenian typewriters: images / scans / resources

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Don Dada's picture
Joined: 25 Sep 2010 - 9:05am
armenian typewriters: images / scans / resources

hello all,

for a font design project i am looking for samples and resources of old armenian typewriter character sets (or scans of documents and texts that were written with said machines) that would help me work on a corresponding design or serve as a head start. i have begun with olivetti 32 as the latin basis, and have completed cyrillic so far.

if anybody could point me to such resources or links, i would greatly appreciate it.

thanks a lot.

Nicolas Garcia Marque's picture
Joined: 14 Jan 2011 - 5:04am

"The story of the Armenian alphabet" in Baseline Magazine


Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am

Sorry I missed this! :-/
How did it turn out?


John Savard's picture
Joined: 23 Nov 2009 - 8:42pm

There is a photo of an Armenian Underwood typewriter here:


and one of an Armenian Royal typewriter here:


The Olympia Armenian keyboard is pictured in the book "Century of the Typewriter".

EDIT: On my web page at


I have added a diagram showing the Royal, Olympia, and Underwood keyboard arrangements.

Thus, the Olympia arrangement is now visible on the web for those without access to the book "Century of the Typewriter", although only one of the two arrangements shown there is illustrated.

Also, in preparing the diagram, I discovered that the specimen of an Underwood Armenian typewriter illustrated in a photo on Wikipedia had two of the keys with upside-down legends.

EDIT: From this site:


a picture


of the active portion of an Armenian typewriter turned out to be of an Underwood model. And from this I resolved one ambiguity; although two keys had upside-down legends, those legends were also swapped between the two keys they were on, and whose right-side-up forms they resembled. So I was mistaken to take the little hook as the decisive factor - I will be correcting the diagram on my web page this evening.

EDIT: In a flash of insight, I thought that at least Microsoft would have been able to find out the keyboard layout used in Soviet Armenia. And, indeed, they have an Eastern Armenian layout that does not correspond to that used by Royal, Olympia, or Underwood. However, I also ran across this page:


which says that Microsoft managed to get two keys switched around!!

I am not feeling so bad about my blunder now.

EDIT: Wikipedia also has this image


of a Royal typewriter with an Olympia-like layout; the other one from Century of the Typewriter that I didn't show on my site resembles it more closely, but I think two letters on the right are switched.

As I've also come across a news item saying that the government of Armenia was pondering whether to use a typewriter or a phonetic keyboard layout, I can only conclude that Armenian typewriters were not terribly common in Soviet Armenia; of course, typewriters were controlled in the Soviet Union due to the threat of samizdat, but one would have thought the bureaucracy would need them for its own use in quantity if nothing else.