In the movie Populaire, 1950's-era French typewriter keyboards are shown with dedicated "1", "10", "100", "1...", "10...", "100...", "1M", and "10M" keys on the top row.

Was there a dedicated type bar for each of these keys?

What did the, e.g., "10..." and "10M" keys produce?

still frame from “Populaire”


1 Answer 1


That's an Hermes Ambassador typewriter similar to the one shown here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shordzi/6155039056/

These were top quality typewriters. The dedicated top "1.." keys were designed to ease typing numerical values in column.

They are described in Page 12 of the typewriter user's manual, chapter "Decimal tabulator" : http://munk.org/typecast/2011/09/30/hermes-ambassador-user-manual-late-50s-early-60s/

  • Thanks @jlliagre. That was the clue I needed. The keys are "decimal tabulator" keys, automatically sending the carriage to proper position to begin inserting the number into a table. From munk.org/typecast/2011/09/30/… Thanks again. Doug. P.s. There are a lot of typewriter, ahem, enthusiasts out there!
    – user38715
    Oct 10, 2014 at 21:20
  • 1
    You are welcome. These keys were indeed puzzling. It was fun investigating.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 10, 2014 at 21:22
  • I found a good thourough description of a Hermes Ambassador with the decimal tabulator here.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 10, 2014 at 21:55

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