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

Edison Mimeograph Typewriter Model No 1

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The circa: 1892 Edison Model One Mimeograph Typewriter. This is an index typewriter that was developed to type wax stencils for the Edison Mimeograph duplicating machine manufactured and distributed by A.B. Dick. There is some disagreement as to if Edison really invented this typewriter or not. He claimed he did not invent it and merely let A.B. Dick put his name on it. This was a very slow index typewriter that did not type well and functioned with invisible typing, meaning that one could not see what they were typing so they had to lift up the carriage to inspect the work. Most contemporary typewriters of the time could cut stencils and also typed well but the Edison could only cut the stencil well and typed poorly and still cost about the same as a keyboard typewriter. Also, the other leading typewriter manufactures of the time were known to pressure their distributors not to carry the A.B. Dick Edison Mimeograph Typewriter nor the Edison Mimeograph Duplicator products until the typewriter was withdrawn from the market. This pressure, and the fact the product concept was flawed to begin with, apparently worked and the typewriter disappeared from the market place in 1897. Edison is known to have as early as the late 1880s rebuff others who requested he lend his name to a new typewriter. He claimed it was an easy project and he could quickly develop one with significant improvements over the competition whenever he wanted. I personally think he did have a hand in the development of this typewriter and then distanced himself and his brand from a failed and flawed product.

This particular specimen, serial number 1429 (not quite sure this is a serial number or not but we did find it on the machine), is the one photographed and appearing on page 123 of Michael Adler's From Creed to Qweerty published by Schiffer in 1997. We have estimated its condition as a 2-,2- and it is fully restorable. It also comes with a reproduced vintage instruction booklet.


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