|TYPEWRITER FACTORIES Hundreds of thousands of people worked in the many typewriter factories all over the United States, a fact rarely appreciated. Here are some views of these facilities, from varied sources, with comments.|
|WOODSTOCK TYPEWRITER FACTORY, WOODSTOCK, ILLINOIS. This is a sectional view of the Woodstock plant, modified from the form it had when originally built in 1910 for the Emerson Typewriter Company. Woodstock officially began operations in this facility in 1914 after a short period as the Roebuck Typewriter Company, during which, apparently, no typewriters were being produced. Woodstock was one of the mid-Western typewriter producing capitals, housing Emerson/Woodstock and Oliver. This view probably dates to the late 1920's, and is on an unmailed postcard produced by Curteich.|
|Above are two views of the former Harris Typewriter Manufacturing Company's plant in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in later incarnations. On the left, the plant during the period 1916-1921 when it was owned by the REX TYPEWRITER COMPANY, and on the right during the time period 1923-1939 when it was owned by the DEMOUNTABLE TYPEWRITER COMPANY. The plant had originally been built for the Wells Shoe Company, but had been abandoned by the time in 1911 when B.E. Harris was looking for a factory suitable for building his brother DeWitt's typewriter. The plant was purchased and converted over for typewriter manufacturing, with many modifications, and opened in mid-1912. (These views courtesy Peter Weil.)|
|Remington Typewriter Company and Erie Canal, Ilion, New York. One wing of what was, when this post card was mailed in 1916, one of the largest typewriter factories in the world is seen across the Erie Canal. This factory was so large that annual mile-long runs were held (on Saturdays) entirely within the plant. After 1915, this plant not only produced the Remington Standard but also the Monarch, as that company's still-new factory had been shut down in order to consolidate operations.|
|Monarch Typewriter Company, Syracuse, New York. In 1903-1904, publications of the day began referring to Syracuse as "the typewriter capital of the world," because three large, well-equipped and new factories were located within the city. Seen here is the plant constructed for the Monarch Typewriter Company, which was that entity established to produce the first "visible" front-strike standard typewriter under Union Typewriter Company auspices. As has been related on other pages in this site, it may well have been the development of this machine for Union that prompted the four Smith brothers to leave their Smith Premier Typewriter Company when that company was not permitted by Union to develop a similar machine. This postcard probably dates to about 1910; the factory was completed in 1904, with the Monarch on the market by the fall of that year. The plant was shut down and sold in 1915.|
|Smith Premier Typewriter Works, Syracuse, New York. This was the second location in which the Smith Premier machines were built, the first having been the old Smith Brothers arms factory. Details are not available, but it seems possible that this factory was built through necessity and not need for expansion; the four Smith brothers left the Smith Premier company in January 1903 and by the end of that month had formed a new company, L. C. Smith & Bros. Typewriter Co. It may be possible that the Smiths had been leasing their original factory to Smith Premier, and that they decided to liquidate the facility. The Smith Premier factory seen here was begun in early March 1903 and was completed, according to Carl Mares, in about four months. This would approximate a six-month notice for Smith Premier to vacate its original facility. The card seen here is postmarked 1910; this factory was apparently shut down around 1921 when the Smith Premier Typewriter Company was absorbed fully by Remington Typewriter Company. At that time, production of Smith Premier machines was terminated and the name was applied to the Monarch machine already being produced in the Remington factory at Ilion, New York. This is the streetside view; powerhouse and rail spur are behind, on the right out of view.|
|L. C. Smith & Bros. Typewriter Company, Syracuse, New York. The largest of the three typewriter factories in Syracuse was that of L. C. Smith & Bros., and was completed around the end of 1904. This was a much larger factory than either of the other two in Syracuse, and operated for a much longer period of time (through about 1960, when a new plant built shortly before in Cortland, New York, assumed all operations, and this plant was sold off.) This plant occupied 325,000 square feet. The plant was used as an office facility until 1981, when it was simply abandoned. It was demolished in 1999. We have here a view after one addition was made to the original factory.
We can find no details as yet of the fate of the 1903 Smith Premier factory, but the Monarch factory still stands and has very recently been renovated and is now an upscale condominium building. It retains its original shape and dimensions.
|Royal Typewriter Company's New Plant, Hartford, Connecticut. The city of Hartford could have made a claim to being the home of the world's 'number one typewriter manufacturer' for many years. In 1901, Underwood built a new factory there, and the period of Underwood dominance was just beginning. By the 1930's, though, Royal Typewriter Company was in the lead, and its machines were being manufactured in the same city. Royal had moved its factory from Brooklyn, New York, when this large new factory was completed in Hartford in 1908. Royal would remain in the lead for many years, meaning that Hartford was one of the true historical centers of typewriter production for at least half a century. This enormous plant was occupied in some fashion or another by Royal through 1985; in 1989, it was placed on the National Historic Register. It burned almost completely in July 1992, and has been demolished and replaced with a large supermarket.|
|Underwood Typewriter Company's factory, Hartford, Connecticut and Underwood Typewriter Building, 241 Broadway, New York City. These views are from a 1924 trade catalog advertising the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 Underwood Standard typewriters. The view above is captioned to indicate that it is the largest typewriter factory in the world, which of course at the time it was. The offices for Underwood Typewriter Company were in New York, seen at right. Later, Underwood bought a disused factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut. One must look closely at the plate above to accurately discern the immense size of the buildings. Note the size of the windows, and the trees nearby the factory. Certainly, only a few typewriter factories (Remington's Ilion plant, Royal's Hartford plant) were of this massive size overall in terms of enclosed volume.|
|Oliver Typewriter Company factory in Woodstock, Illinois about 1908. First seen in our presentation of an Oliver sales brochure, this view is repeated here for completeness. Note that the factory occupies a fairly large area of ground, but is nowhere near as high as the others seen on this page. The factory was expanded a number of times, but always "outward" and not "upward." Note rail spur into central area of plant to both serve plant needs and provide coal for powerhouse, at center.|
|Allen Typewriter Company factory, Allentown, Pennsylvania.
This modern-day view was taken by PETER WEIL when he and Bob Aubert traveled to Allentown. The Allen Typewriter Company produced light, small inexpensive machines from roughly mid to late 1921 until perhaps as late as 1933 in this small, four-story factory. The machines were neither successful nor numerous, which helps explain the diminutive size of this plant. Still, the Allen is a machine of great rarity and interest to collectors, and it is interesting that the original plant has been identified and still stands - and so we present it here. It is a fantastic comparison to the Underwood or Royal plants!
|Corona Typewriter Company, Groton, Connecticut.
This view of the Corona Typewriter Co.'s plant in Groton is undated, but is thought to be a view from the immediate pre-merger period (ie, 1920-1925.) The factory isn't as large as those seen above for making standard machines, but if one considers some small reduction in needed space per machine due to the small size of the Corona itself, the real capacity of the factory becomes more apparent.
|Illustrations this page from post cards, brochures or ads in Davis collections unless otherwise noted.|