Chicago Writing Machine Co.
The Baltimore typewriter is really no more than a rebranded Chicago No.1 made by the Chicago Writing Machine Co. of Chicago, IL. Why it was decaled with the Baltimore name or whom may have commissioned it is a mystery to this day. I suspect it had something to do with the Baltimore Sun newspaper because of the two quartered sunburst embellishments at the bottom corners of the decal. The example on this page is serial numbered 45156 which places its production towards the end of the Chicago typewriter company's tenure and possibly just prior to when the company itself was sold to the Galesburg company in 1912.
Acquiring this typewriter was both serendipitous and a Herculean assist from several members of the typewriter community...
In October 2014, I was carpooling with former collector Dennis Clark to my first typewriter event at the Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Museum. As we were passing through West Virginia, Dennis said that he knew of a Baltimore somewhere in the state but that's all. In the coming years I tried unearthing it but with so little info to go on, and West Virginia being such a large state, no leads were manifested.
Fast forward to October 2019, I was at another meeting at the Chestnut Ridge. In passing, I overheard the event's host, Herman J. Price, reiterate to another collector the same info I already knew. It seemed fate was suggesting I put out another APB, so I did. This time it worked. On New Year's Day, 2020, I received a photo of a Baltimore from a fellow named Ward living in Bluefield, a small town in the southernmost part of West Virginia.
Ward and I quickly settled on a price but he was reluctant to ship it so I asked a friend and fellow collector, Mark Petersen, who lived just 1 hour away, if he could help. Mark picked up the Baltimore on January 20th. I was then supposed to pick it up from Mark at some point during my travels. but COVID happened and Mark was also reluctant to ship it.
We tried several times to meet but this time fate was plotting against us. Then an opportunity presented itself. On August 18th, a Tuesday, there was to be a small get-together at the Palmer Arboretum outside Philadelphia.
I'm so very grateful to Mark, Doug, Glenn and David for going above and beyond and for making the acquisition of this Baltimore so much more special. They prove that this hobby is seldom just about the machines but it is always about the people.
I should also thank Dennis for sparking my original interest in the typewriter and to Herman for reigniting that spark, even if by accident.
Mark couldn't make it to Philly but two other collector-friends, David C. John and Glenn Gravatt, could. Transportation commenced in early August. First, Mark drove the Baltimore north a few hours where Glenn's brother, Doug, graciously took delivery of the typewriter. Doug then couriered it further north to where he was met by David C. John who could keep the Baltimore safe until the arboretum meeting. That was where I finally, officially, extatically took possession of my Baltimore.
Also at the Philly meet-up were Jonathan "Doc Hammond Jr." Posey, Mike "Philly Strong" Brown and the man, the myth, the legend, Herman J. Price. Not pictured is David's daughter who took that great group photo (thanks!).