Regal Rebuilt Royal

Regal Rebuilt Emblem

Collectors and enthusiasts today sometimes run across Royal standard machines bearing a decal like that seen above – usually on the rear of the machine.  The Regal name is never seen on anything but a Royal, and there’s a good reason for that:  Regal Typewriter Company was a part of Royal Typewriter Company (and its successor owners) for its entire existence.

In 1921, Royal Typewriter decided to split off its exchange typewriter department and formed the Regal Typewriter Company.  This company then factory rebuilt Royal standard machines for many years and sold them primarily to dealers.

Regal Blotter

Regal Typewriter Co. blotter, Will Davis collection

There is an old (and false) tale that none of the major typewriter manufacturers got into the rebuilding business because it would have hurt their sales – but as those who have been reading this blog since the beginning probably realize, the business was going to exist whether the big makers pretended it did or didn’t.  The only way to ensure getting a piece of the action was to get in directly — or, as in the case of Royal and Regal, indirectly but closely.

Regal also took the trades sent to Royal dealers but, if they weren’t Royals, it sold them to other rebuilders.  This sort of arrangement is what led major rebuilders to often make statements such as “we obtain our machines direct from the manufacturers.”  Yes, in many cases they did – but NOT from the original maker of  the machines!  To be perfectly clear, a rebuilder (such as Dearborn, or Young) might well obtain wholesale blocks of Underwood machines in the rough from Regal, but not Royals.

There is no evidence that Royal itself directly or indirectly engaged in rebuilding its own machines until the formation of Regal in 1922, although it’s certain that many rebuilt Royals were being offered by a wide number of rebuilders before that time.  It must be assumed that the exchanged machine department of Royal was simply selling trades wholesale prior to that time.

Regal Typewriter Company ceased to exist in 1975 when it was re-merged into the parent organization, which by that time was Litton Industries.  For the collector or actual typewriter user, though, you can be sure that a Regal rebuilt Royal is the ‘real thing’ in name and in fact.

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