|Gary Bothe and the 55th MOLLE|
|Well-known collector Gary Bothe has a special interest in the Molle Typewriter, as he is from the area where the machine was manufactured. He owns the machine you see on this page, which has serial number 1055. He has sent me some keen observations, which are included below.
The Molle machines known to exist seem to occupy a bracket of serial numbers not lower than 1000, and not higher than about 7800. The fact that this much time has gone by without the discovery either of machines with serial lower than 1000, or else with no serial at all, seems good evidence that the company actually began production with serials marked right at the 1000 point. This makes his Molle No. 3 the 55th unit manufactured. It also means that, by way of simple subtraction, there were probably no more than 6800 machines of this type ever made.
|Further support for the theory that numbering began at 1000 is the fact that some machines are still in the hands of descendants of John Molle, the machine's designer, with very low serial numbers -- but which are above 1000. Gary notes that family members would most likely have gotten their hands on earlier, rather than later, machines. He also notes that machines were offered in exchange for investments in the company, and that was probably the source for the machine you see here.
Of great interest to collectors will be the fact that very early machines do not have painted sides. They are nickel-plated, which is clearly visible in these pictures. The vast majority of known machines are painted, overall, in one color, which normally is black but can be white.
|The Molle occupies one of those odd, "middle" brackets in the grand scheme of things. The machines are heavier than portables of the day, but not as heavy as the big four-bank standards, although they are clearly intended for serious work. The use of a three-bank, double-shift keyboard is perhaps one drawback of the design, although we must remember that the design was completed many years before it could actually be funded well enough to be built. When first designed, the machine would have been highly competitive; when actually built, it was an also-ran.|