L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriter Inc.
Groton, New York
"A gift to help little fingers guide eager young minds." That's how the Corona company marketed, what it called, the "Animal Keyboard." For a "nominal fee" of $2.49, Corona would apply this keyboard to any of its portable models, which included the Standard, Sterling and Silent, and covert it to a touch-typing teaching typewriter. Time would prove the Animal Keyboard Corona to be the most high-end teaching typewriter ever produced which was intended specifically for children. The problem with that was that it was sold during the heart of the Great Depression when paying a premium for anything, let alone a child's toy, was unrealistic.
The keyboard layout itself was patented by Myrtle R. Keller (1892 - 19??) in 1936 (design patent no.100,245). All of the little animal illustrations however were developed by Byron Glee Newton (1893 - 1873), a well known artist. Corona began advertising these modified typewriters during the latter part for the previous year for the Christmas season.
The typewriter would have come with two book: "My Corona Typewriting Book," an exercise book for the kids, and "...to help little fingers guide eager young minds," a descriptive book for parents and teachers.
Also included would have been a set of 9 rings; one for each finger plus one for the right thumb. Each ring had an illustration of an animal just like the keyboard. The child would have worn these rings while typing, striking only the key which matched the illustration of the ring on the finger being used. For example, the left index finger with the bear ring would only strike the keys with the bear. The ring on the thumb with the elephant would only strike the spacebar.
The Animal Keyboard was first applied to the flattop models like the one on this page. The typewriters themselves could have been ordered in black, green or maroon. Later Speedline models were also offered with the Animal Keyboard.
It should be noted that Corona also offered the same models with colored keys but without the animal illustrations or rings. They were also intended for teaching touch-typing except to older kids and adults. Remington, Olivetti and Bar-Let (possibly others, too), sold similar typewriters with colored keys for the same purpose.
Questions? Comments? Have an Animal Keyboard Corona or one of the accessories for sale? Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com
Need a copy of the original instruction manual? Please feel free to email me to purchase either a digital copy or a hard copy reproduction.