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

Smith Premier No 1 serial # 7759

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This early Smith Premier No 1 antique typewriter circa: 1890 with an early and low serial number (7759) has the wonderful Victorian engraving of marsh cattails on the side and back panels that only this model features. It is complete and is working. The frame is solid and without any breaks, cracks or repairs. There is a little paint loss and it does have significant dust and dirt build up. Also, most of the shiny metal has some surface tarnish. All the keys do strike the platen and return without assistance and the carriage does advance when keys and the space bars are struck. We are estimating the condition rating on this machine at 3,2. However, with some steel wool, a small wire brush, an SOS pad and some elbow grease the rating could easily be raised to 2,2.

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 abundant 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 success of the Remington typewriter transaction and set off making the first Smith Premier typewriters.

The Smith Premier enjoyed great success but around the turn-of-the-century visible typewriting was becoming the preferred 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 convince his board (and the Typewriter Trust) to allow him to retool and come out with visible typewriter 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 later renamed to 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.


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