Columbia No.1 Typewriters
1884 - 1885
Columbia Type-Writer Co.
New York, NY
This Columbia No.1 model was produced concurrently with the No.2 for just one, brief year from late 1884 to late 1885 before they were replaced by the "Improved" No.2. You may read more on the history of the Columbia brand here. On this page I would like to focus on the provenance of the No.1 model in the photographs serial numbered 295.
It was offered to me by Ms. Gava of Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy. Several Italian collectors were also contacted but, after a couple weeks of negotiating, I was very fortunate to come out on top. Ms. Gava mentioned that she inherited the Columbia from her father who was born and lived in Belgium. He would accumulate such objects during his travels and then display them in his office.
As the badge on top of the case indicates, the typewriter was originally sold by Adolphus Sington & Co, Ltd of Princess St. in Manchester, England with branches in Italy, France and Bavaria. Though the company's origins were in linen and cotton production, the business eventually morphed into machinery import and export.
The original price of a Columbia No.1 was $25 which included a wooden case and a bottle of ink. The default typeface was italicized, as is the example on this page, but since the typewheels were interchangeable a buyer could request "any style of type." for an additional $1 each.
I am very grateful to Ms. Gava for allowing me to obtain this rare typewriter. Also, I would like to thank fellow collector Giuliano Fanutti for taking delivery of the typewriter from Ms. Gava and then for sending it safely to me.
Need an instruction manual for your Columbia No.1? Get it here...