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

SMITH PREMIER MODEL ONE circa: 1889 TYPEWRITER: serial # 37235

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From This Olde Office collection comes this 1st model of the Smith Premier typewriter featuring nickel plated cast iron side and back panels with very stylized marsh cattail designs. It is the only model that has two space bars. This machine is very attractive with its double keyboard. It was invented by Alexander Timothy Brown with the patent applied for in 1888 and issued in 1889. Brown is said to have been inspired when he first saw the Sholes & Glidden typewriter at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876. Almost immediately after the patent was granted Brown sold all rights to Lyman C. Smith of the L.C. Smith Gun Company. Smith knew how one of his major gun competitors, Remington, had benefited from converting excess factory capacity to manufacturing typewriters. Like Remington, the Smith Gun Company had a lot of excess manufacturing capacity after the Civil War and so the great and important Smith typewriter history begins.

The Smith typewriter story is one of my favorites in all of typewriter lore. Around the turn of the 19th century most typewriter manufacturers, and especially arch competitor Underwood, either were making visible models (ones which typed on top of the platen vs invisible ones that struck the bottom of the platen like the Smith Premier) or were converting to visible typewriting. Lyman was CEO and Chairman of the Board of his Smith Premier Typewriter Company and he asked his board of directors and the Union Typewriter Trust to approve of retooling and producing only visible models. The Board of Directors and the Trust denied his request. Apparently, Lyman did not have a "not to compete clause" because he quit his company and along with his brothers started the L.C. Smith & Bros Typewriter Company in 1904 producing only visible typewriters.

In 1927, L. C. Smith Typewriter Company merged (purchased) the Corona Typewriter Company. It then became the L.C. Smith & Bros & Corona Typewriter Company, later The Smith Corona Typewriter Company and today we know it as the SCM Corporation. There was 100 years of manual typewriting in the United States with the first being the Sholes & Glidden in 1874 and the last being a Smith Corona portable in 1974.

This Smith Premier Model One (serial number 37235) is in exceptional condition. It is very clean and with only a bit of internal dirt and dust build up. It does have some surface tarnish but most of the bright medal is bright and shiny. I believe with just elbow grease, steel wool and a little detergent (especially on the key tops) this "2" on esthetics could be advanced to a 2+. On the function side, not only is this old understrike functioning as intended it actually has "good action" and is functioning very well and hence the "2+" for function. We estimate the condition rating on this SP1 at 2,2+

We do have the original case (wood base and tin lid) for this machine but do not feel it safe to ship both the case and the machine together. Therefore, we are offering it free to the typewriter purchaser with only the packing and shipping cost of $95 in the US and $150 internationally and will only sell it seperately after the SP1 is sold and the buyer opted not to pay the shipping on the lid.


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