Posts The Royal KHM (1938)

The Royal KHM (1938)

After the Underwood 6 from 1936, there was an good chance I would look into getting another typewriter. So this one came up on eBay, and I noticed that it didn’t sell and that the seller, while not exactly local, was not very far. So I contacted him and asked if he would be willing to keep the machine for me. That’s how I got machine number 2 in my collection in April 2017: a 1938 Royal KHM, fairly priced. We took a small family road trip to get it.

Royal KHM (1938)
Royal KHM (1938)

The KHM probably has the best action of all the machines I have so far. Royal got this part right really early on. Machine from other big brands like Underwood and Remington don’t come close during this period of time (the 1930s). The KHM is a workhorse and a real pleasure to type with. Also, it’s a basket shift, which means that the shift key is easier to use.

Based on my smooth experience removing the carriage of the Underwood 6 for cleaning, I tried doing this with the Royal. But I learned that not all typewriters have a carriage that comes out easily. I persisted and managed to get it out and back in, with difficulty. It did make cleaning much easier, but I wouldn’t recommend going through this unless really necessary. Adjusting the carriage after putting it back is not exactly easy either. I have since learned that the common wisdom about carriages is “Don’t remove the carriage unless absolutely necessary.” In some cases though, like with early Underwoods, it is so easy that this wisdom shouldn’t apply. 1

The Royal KHM is a successor to the Royal 10, another classic typewriter known for its side windows - yes, glass windows on the sides! The KHM doesn’t have windows but has two panels which can be removed easily. The panels protect the interior of the machine from dust and give it a fairly modern look. In general I like the look of the KHM, including the smooth black paint and the distinctive ribbon covers on top.

Some keys (“6”, “E”, “R”, “T”, “I”, “O”, “L”) clearly got replaced on this machine during its lifetime: they are white instead of yellow, and convex instead of concave.

The keyboard with replaced keys
The keyboard with replaced keys

The left ribbon cover is missing a part so it doesn’t lock properly. I do need to fix an issue with the right margin release. I am also considering putting on new decals - which I have already bought. It seems typical that these machines lose their decals after a while. I think that with new decals well applied, the machine will look amazing.


  1. The carriage is held in a very similar way on the Royal 5 and 10. You also have two ball bearings, which you don’t have on the Underwood. But if I remember well, it was extra difficult on the KHM for some reason.