The next two models, Nos.1 & 3, were produced, or at least prototyped, which we know because they appeared in old ads alongside the No.5. The No.1 was an incredible machine that, had it been mass produced, would have been more sophisticated than anything else on the market for quite some time to come. The No.3 was a scaled-down though more ornate version of the No.1 and, lastly, the No.5 was further scaled down version.

Blickensderfer

1892 - 1919

Blickensderfer Manufacturing Co.

Stamford, Connecticut,  US

 

George Canfield Blickensderfer (1815 - 1917) was a traveling salesman at a time when quality typewriters were either much too heavy to carry along and portable typewriters were far too inferior. Blickensderfer recognized this void within the marketplace and entered the business of typewriter manufacturing as early as 1886. He filed for a patent next year (patent no.410,662), though there is no evidence that it was ever produced. Let's call this one the Pre-No.1 model.

George Canfield Blickensderfer

In 1893 George took Nos.1 & 5 to the World's Colombian Expo in Chicago. He had high hopes for the No.1 model but it was the modest No.5 that stole the show, not just from the No.1, but also from all the other typewriters at the exhibition. After a successful exhibition, orders came from domestic and foreign investors. By 1895 a factory was set up in Stamford. CT as well as distribution network in Canada, France, U.K. and later Germany, Russia and Poland. It would not be uncommon to find Blicks with other country's or company's names stamped into the nameplate, too. Foreign business was absolutely instrumental in the growth of the Blickensdrefer Company. Ironically, it would be that dependence on foreign markets that would also contribute to the unraveling to the company.

So why all the interest at the Expo? George's ingenious typewheel, a single-element type mechanism, was why (patent no.432,296). With it, users could efficiently and inexpensively change the language or typeface of the typewriter by simply swapping out the typewheel as opposed to buying an entirely new writing machine. Hammonds and Crandalls already utilized single-element type mechanisms , but, unlike Hammonds and Crandalls, the Blick was also small and lightweight... the first truly portable typewriter.

George always seemed to be ahead of his time. In 1900 he patented an electric typewriter (patent no.656,085) which, in 1902, was just the second electric ever produced. Unfortunately the public was not yet ready for an electric typewriter and would not be ready for another 50 years. His No.6 model didn't come to market until after the No.8 because aluminum casting technology hadn't quite yet been perfected, so George pioneered that typewriter technology, too. The keyboard layout of the Blick was equally innovative, which George referred to as a Scientific keyboard. It was a better layout, especially for Blicks, but by 1892 most people had already accepted the universal QWERTY keyboard. Blicks were, thus, offered with a choice between the two.

By 1910 sales began to dwindle and, since Blickensderfer depended heavily on foreign markets, a ban on trade with some countries following the start of WWI further crippled the business. The company produced government contracted munitions during WWI to compensate but typewriter sales would never fully rebound.

 

The models offered by Blickensderfer in the order they appeared on the market are as follows:

  • No.1 (none found yet)

  • No.3 (none found yet)

  • No.5

  • No.4 (uppercase only/telegraph use)

  • No.7

  • Blickensderfer Electric

  • No.8

  • No.6

  • No.9

  • Blick Bar (conventional frontstrike typewriter)

  • Blick Ninety (conventional frontstrike typewriter)

 

After George's death the company was sold, in 1919, to the Roberts Typewriter Company and again, in 1926, to the Remington Typewriter Company. Roberts produced a Roberts Ninety which was a nearly identical to the Blick Ninety which were conventional frontsrike typewriters. George himself had very little to do with it when it was first being developed by inventor Lyman R. Roberts (1867 - 1921).

 

Remington attempted to revive the original typewheel equipped Blicks with a Rem-Blick model. It was nothing more than a rebranded No.5. Ultimately Remington permanently shut down Blickensderfer production in 1928.​

 

A few other typewriters that are in tied (some very loosely tied) to the Blickensderfer include the NocoBlick, Blickensderfer No.5 Teletyper, Niagara and Blick Universal.

 

Have an interesting Blick for sale? Email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com or call +1 (860) 729-2252