The Hermes 10 electric typewriter

The Hermes 10 is an electric, not electronic, typewriter. A motor spins a fluted shaft that picks up whichever key is depressed and drives the relevant typebar. Through a series of clutches and springs, the same motor returns the carriage when the return key (which is where you would expect it to be, on the right of the keyboard) is pressed.

It does not have a keyboard matrix, so cannot readily be interfaced with a computer, say. The keys require significant pressure, though less than a typical manual typewriter. Unlike a daisy wheel or golf ball typewriter, but like a manual one, the platen (the roll of rubber that holds the paper) does move, and the printing is done by typebars (the little hammers) hitting a ribbon onto the paper, so there is no delete key here, though some machines like this one used a half black, half white ribbon that was a bit like built-in correction fluid.

It is large and heavy, and uses mains power, so while not as big as some desktop (standard) machines, it is not really a portable, and I would classify it as a small standard.

This is what it looks like:

Front view

Some of the nice features include:
From the side, you can see that it is quite bulky. The keys are further above the desk than for most manuals, each within its own cutout in the top plate. The row of six unevenly spaced large and tall keys at the top of the keyboard control tabs, margin release and backspace, with the backspace top-right, where a computer user would expect it. This is quite a nice machine for a computer user who wants to hear typebars go thwack. Which they do. Loudly.

three-quarter view showing the height and

With the ribbon cover off, you can see the conventional spools and basket. The serial number is on the raised metal tag on the left.

with the top off -- can see spools,
typebars and some rods and levers

The thing was made by Paillard in Switzerland, and the build quality does seem pretty good; this was made in 1971 (serial number 2052425), though I am not sure how much use it has had -- I suspect it spent a lot of time in its case. Some thin plastics here and there, but a lot of metal, too.

the back of the machine, where the cord
goes in

Here is the keyboard in more detail. A useful selection of characters -- just an accented e for variety. The vertical, unlabeled rectangle on the right is the return key. The squarish unlabeled keys low down are shifts. Not big, but big enough, I find. The big key at the top, with a + on it, sets tabs. The - key clears a tab and the - - - key clears all tabs at once. This is a machine quite suitable for office use.

Here is a sample of the typeface -- nothing exciting, I'm afraid. A little bottom-heavy, so perhaps I need to adjust something, but clear and very well aligned.

character set and
typeface example from the Hermes 10

Here are some relevant links:

Conclusion: a terrific example of the pre-electronic electric typewriter.