Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Mystery of the Tiny Typewriter Photo

I need a little help. My usual eBay search - "typewriter" - recently turned up this small stereoptican card. Besides the fact that it shows two men typing, what is going on here that inspired documentation of the scene?

The images are maybe two inches square. but an enlargement shows quite a bit of detail...

The back of the card probably also provides some detail - as long as you are not language-challenged as I am ...


I'm hoping there are typospherians that will take a shot at identifying the typewriters, and also some sleuths who might help me with the where, when, and what of the photo.


  1. That would be taken towards the end of June 1940 - surrender of France at the shrine where the carriage was kept where the 1918 surrender of Germany was signed.

    No idea on the tw's - the centre reporter carries a rather large and heavy machine it seems. (They are noted as being foreign press, btw.)

  2. This says something like this:

    "The battle in the West
    Picture no. 98
    The foreign press in Compiègne. In the background the hall where the car was Foch (stored? kept?)
    War correspondents
    Supreme Command of the Armed Forces"

    So yeah, that would be a stereoscope of the day the French surrendered to Germany in Compiègne in 1940, as RobertG says.

    Not sure about the man in the middle, but the guy on right is typing on what appears to be a Remington portable, possibly a 5 or something similar (by the looks of that curved, raised lip on the top) with a very handy attachment for a roll of paper behind the platen

  3. "Der Wagen Fochs" means the train carriage (which RobertG mentions) that belonged to French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, in which the armistice was signed at the end of WWI.

    So this is a supremely symbolic location and moment.

  4. The large machine with large case used by the centre reporter looks like it might be a Remington Model 1.

    (As Richard says, very symbolic. After getting French to surrender in the same spot all the buildings and monuments to the French victory of '18 were razed. So this picture was taken no later than June 25 or so. (PK-Aufnahme means it was a PK-picture, taken by the Propagandakompanie - propaganda company.)

  5. American war correspondent William L. Shirer covers the German Blitzkrieg in Compiègne from behind German lines. See story and photos from November 11, 2012, at