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Smith Premier No 1

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The Smith Premier typewriter started what would become one of the most important sagas in typewriter history. Lyman C. Smith in 1888 purchased the rights to the Smith Premier One typewriter from its inventor, Alexander Timothy Brown. Smith was the owner of the L.C. Smith Gun Company in Syracuse, New York and, like Remington, was looking for non firearm products since the civil war was over and the market for guns was greatly diminished. After the Civil War, surplus guns were abundent and they were quite inexpensive. At this time in American history, except for a few niche markets, firearms manufacturing was at best a troubled industry. Smith must have seen or heard of the sucess of the Remington typewriter transaction and set off making the first Smith Premier typewriters.

The Smith Priemers enjoyed great success but around the turn-of-the-century visible typewriting was becomming the prefered choice. Smith Premiers were understrikes, meaning their keys struck the bottom of the platen and not the top of the platen like the more modern typewriters of the time did. Lyman tried to convence his board (and the Typewriter Trust) to allow him to retool and come out with visible typwriter models, but it didn't happen. His ultimate reaction was to quit his company, recruit his brothers and start the L.C.Smith typewriter Company in Syracuse, New York with The L.C. Smith & Bros No 2 as their first typewriter. This typewriter and its successor models enjoyed great success.

Then in 1927 they merged (they really bought) the Corona Typewriter Company and formed the LC Smith & Bros & Corona Tyepwriter Company which was quickly renamed to the Smith Corona and eventually to the SCM Corporation. There was 100 years of manual typewriter manufacturing in the United States with the first manual being the S&G in 1874 and last being a SCM manual portable in 1974.

This Smith Premier No 1 dates to 1890 and has been restored to its beautiful original condition and sports the Victorian engraved marsh and cattail motifs. This is the machine in the photograph on page 81 of Adler's From Creed to Qwerty by Schiffer in 1997. It comes with its restored tin case and has a condition rating of 2,3.


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