Branford House Antiques
A Historic 1850s Farmhouse on a Scenic Vermont Dairy Farm

Sholes & Glidden serial # A1119

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This is the grand daddy of them all; The Sholes & Glidden typewriter commonly refered as an "S&G". The S&G is generally accepted as the first commercially successful typewriter and was introduced late in 1873 and most collectors accept 1874 as the first year of introduction. When this machine was new, it was very well decorated with Victorian hunt scenes or of Victorian ladies or of other period subjects. The first machines were on trendle sewing machine stands since the Remington Arms Company in Ilion, New York, was the contract manufacturer and they used an old arms plants that had since been converted to sewing machine production. Apparently, one of the sewing machine manufacturing engineers had a hand in early production runs, and hence the trendle which was only used to advance the carriage. The trendle stands were not around for long and the carriage level was soon added.

Early machines were often sent back to the factory for servicing and for new feature enhancements, such as adding the carriage level. There were also overhaul and reconditioning services provided by the factory. This machine has an "A" serial number prefix which indicates it was one of the early mahinces refurbished at the factory and one of the common procedures of the time was to dip strip the machine and repaint it. When they did that they did not replace the original hand painted decorations but simply added some pinstripping over the newly painted black machine.

Some of the most important names involved in the early typewriter industry had some hand in the S&G including but not limited to Sholes, Glidden, Remington, Densmore and Yost.

Sometime around 1878, the S&G was replaced with the Remington Perfected Type Writer No 2 and that is the first time Remington and a model number was identified with a typewriter and also the reason the S&G is sometimes referred to as a Remington No 1.

Do you know the first book to be written on a S&G typewriter? It was a transcript copy of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Samuel Clemens was one of the few, if not the only, early celebreties to use an S&G. He did give a few testimonials to using a typewriter and they were in his special humorous manner. One went something like: "I emplore you never to buy and or use a typewriter, for if you do you will find yourself corresponding with old friends and new acquaintances alike. You will end up with so many friends and associates you will not know what to do with them all."

This S&G may not look like it, but it is in fairly good shape and is very restorable. I would recommend that it be restored and to replace the original Victorian decorations. Notice the wooden key levels and one, the comma, did break but can easily be repaired. We have estimated the condition rating to be a 4,4 but again, believe it to be very restorable and certainly worthy of restoration.


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