Branford House Antiques
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Edison Mimeograph Model 1 Typewriter

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This Edison Model 1 Mimeograph Typewriter comes from John Overall of New Braunfels, Texas. It was collected by his father some five decades earlier. This is the first time it comes to market in 50 or more years.

There were three Edison models and this was the first one with 78 characters. It was introduced to the market in 1894 (a year before the patent was granted) and taken off the market just a few years later in 1897. It is an index typewriter which strikes under the platen (understrike) meaning one cannot see the typing. Many early typewriters were understrikes but this technology was generally obsolete by this time with most new typewriters entering the market featuring visible typewriting. It was boycotted by typewriter retailers who were influenced by other typewriter manufacturers and executives with negative bias toward Thomas Edison. Also, it was an obviously inferior typewriter being difficult and slow to operate.

As once related by George Washington Newton Yost: for years before the Edison Typewriter was introduced, and at various times, major typewriter industry executives and entrepreneurs would approach Edison to partner in creating and introducing a new "Edison Typewriter". Edison, each time would respond to them, in a rather pretentious manner, that he could develop a typewriter by himself, without any assistance, anytime he chose and did not consider it much of a challenge.

Major contemporary antique typewriter authors today (including Lippman, Rehr and Russo) generally accept Edison's comments that he "...didn't really invent the Edison Typewriter but simply allowed AB Dick to put his name on it". While Adler suggests Edison did invent it. As a side bar, Adler featured an Edison Typewriter on the cover of his first book. I conjecture that when it became clear it was an inferior typewriter (and a complete product failure) is when Edison made his distancing comments.

The Edison Mimeograph Typewriter was designed to cut stencils for the Mimeograph copy machines which were Edison patented inventions and marketed by AB Dick. The problem was that it generally had the same infrastructure and almost the same cost as other upright keyboard typewriters of the time, all of which could efficiently cut a stencil. Also, it was very slow and generally a poor typewriter and hence became a rare Edison product failure, Today it is a great, rare, cross collectible, ie; Edison and antique typewriter collectors.

This machine is complete and in good condition with the cast iron frame and cast iron index without any breaks, cracks or repairs. The paper index is complete, clear and easy to read. The center pinstripe design is also clear and easy to see. There is some light surface tarnish and the machine does have dirt build up and could use a good cleaning and a little light oil. It is working in that the carriage advances when the key bar is depressed but not consistently. We have estimated the condition rating at 2-,2-


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