Who is the real FLYING FISH, please stand up, please stand up......

Ladies and Gentlemen, my fellow typospherians,

Let me introduce to you the real FLYING FISH typewriters that China once produced. 

FLYING FISH as a brand name was first used on mechanical calculators.

 the tag says: 1974.12.

Under the planned/command economy that China adopted until 1978, the factory was ordered to make desktop typewriters brandnamed FLYING FISH since 1960s. Below pictured is the among the earliest productions. Please note the finger-shaped, turquoise key tops and press-button design for marginal sets, salient features of early machines.

These desktop machines came in 14' 16' and 18' carriages. According to my friend Mr. Lu,a retired typewriter repairman, they have "carriage of Remington" and "body of Underwood", a mix-breed so as to say. De-jam key is a salient feature for all FLYING FISH desktops.

It's worth mentioning that these desktops were a huge success. They quickly made their way into factories, trading firms and schools. I remember that, during my secondary school,our English exam papers were typed out on these machines using stencils.

Later models of FLYING FISH desktops use slide buttons to set margins

In late 1970s, the Shanghai Mechanical Calculator Factory began to develop and produce portable machines, thus came the Model PSQs. As I've already done an elaborate post on PSQs and Hero typewriters , please refer to my previous post if interested.

In early 1980s, the typewriter business was branched out from Shanghai Mechanical Calculator Factory. As China's first typewriter factory, the newly found typewriter factory was named Shanghai Typewriter Factory, PSQs were rebranded as HERO typewriters, Model 110 its first official model.

A couple of years later, the FLYING FISH brand was used to name the Factory's new model 200 ( below as pictured), which is clearly a copycat of TIPPA ADLER's 70s model . It came in white and cream, and, without exception, have an ugly variation of PICA fonts, never seen in typewriters made in other countries. When exported, they were rebranded as KOFA-200. (FYI, Hero's Model 110 was named KOFA-100 for export)

Meanwhile, a new Shanghai No.2 Typewriter Factory was established to produce HERO manual and electronic typewriters (started in mid-1990s). In late 1990s,however, private money were invested in the Factory, forming the new Hero Typewriter Factory, a private-public partnership.  This was encouraged by government's policy to privatize state-owned companies, something China learned from Magaret Thatcher.

Sadly, during the state-to-private ownership transition, lots of previously state-owned assets were snapped up and pocketed by business executives of newly established public-private companies. New manifestations of corruption began to emerge in China and in such a large scale never seen before. Even worse, they were all done legally. Authorities didn't realize until many years later.

the Model 201, with REPEAT SPACER

In 1992,1993, Shanghai Typewriter Factory seemed to get bored with the Model 200,and launched the Model 88TRs onto the market. As you can see, the new model is apparently a Japan's Silver Reed copycat. It came with all features of Silver Reeds, including personal touch control adjuster, repeat spacer and pre-set five-space TAB key.  Meanwhile, the production of Model 200 continued.

Model 400, a variation of Model 88TR

pictured below is another variation of Model 88TR, Model 260. Geez, I have no idea about how they are different from 400s and 88TRs,

In mid-late 1990s and onwards, Shanghai Typewriter Factory launched models Freda, 200-B and 890. Nothing new! Only different cases and color arrangements for its old TIPPA-ish designs.
Model Freda

Model 200-B

For a long time, Shanghai is the only place in China that typewriters were made. But as the city started to re-position itself as a service center, manufacturing began to span over municipal boundaries and later further to neighboring provinces.

There are two other less-heard-of companies producing typewriters with exact same design as FLYING FISH.  They are--

The FLYING PIGEONS, from Jiangsu Province

and the Hua Xiang Typewriter  (meaning: CHINA FLYING) from Zhejiang Province.

Note: The X-shaped Great Wall is the emblem of 11th Asia Games held in Beijing in 1990. This is the very first International sports event that China held. The Huaxiang typewriter was recommended as OFFICIAL TYPEWRITER for the Game. 

Huaxiang with REPEAT SPACER and  TAB

----THE END-----

Hope you guys enjoy!


  1. The clear plastic cover over the ribbon cover and carriage - on photo 26 of 35 - is a good idea. I'm surprised other typewriter manufacturers didn't think of this.

    1. but don't you think it is a bit cumbersome?

    2. Not really. I suppose, you could just slip a cover over the whole typewriter, but for display purposes I think a plastic cover like that would be great. If I could make them I would. :)

  2. More great information!

    I agree with writelephant, the plastic piece on the model 890 is original. As I understand it, it flips up to serve as a paper support. Good idea.

    I have never seen a big Flying Fish before, or even heard of the Flying Pigeon. (The brand sounds pretty funny in English, since we usually associate pigeons with urban dirt and droppings.)


    1. yes indeed! But flying fish, pigeon and China flying, that itself indicate how much China wishes to fly sky high, hehe....

  3. I recognize the large (standard) Flying Fish immediately... It looks very much like an Adler Universal copy, which would make sense since as you said many other Chinese machines are based on the Tippa.

    1. Yes they do, but as I said, it is indeed a cross-breed of Remington+Underwood

  4. Hello, I recently acquired the KOFA 100. And I was wondering where can I find an instruction manual (in English). I have been searching the internet ad all i could find was German and Chinese. I also have the Serial Number and would like to find out the exact date of manufacture.