1912 - 1941
Standard Folding Typewriter Co. (1909 - 1914)
Corona Typewriter Co., Inc. (1914 - 1925)
L.C. Smith & Corona ( 1925 - 1941)
Groton, New York US
There were hundreds upon hundreds of various typewriter makers producing countless numbers of models easily ranking in the thousands. Yet, with all that metal being cast and so much hot air being blown, very few designs were actually successful, and even fewer reached icon status. Such visionaries and their masterpieces include Thomas Oliver's Iron Butterfly, Wagner's Standard, Sottsass' Valentine and, this, Otto Petermann's Corona No.3 Folding Writing Machine.
Soon folding typewriters like the Bijou, Fox, Hammond Multiplex and several others entered the market. Even the Gourland seems to have been vying for some of Corona's market share. They were more-likely-than-not designed with Petermann's and Rose's typewriter serving as a blueprint. Imitation and flattery, right?
The Groton factory closed in 1983 and was torn down just one year later.
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In 1909, Rose's startup had a great business model that caught the eye of a well connected investor named Benn Conger (1856 - 1922). Conger would eventually buy the company and, almost immediately, relocate production to Groton, NY.
The marketing and sales teams were now tasked with the job of selling this truly portable design. And sell it they did. First, they changed the name of the machine from Standard Folding Typewriter to Corona because the original name didn't translate well in foreign markets. In other markets, still, the typewriter may have been rebranded as a Coronet, Franconia or Piccola. Sales of the No.3 model soared immediately from 6000 units in 1912 to over 150,000 annually by 1920. These typewriters were offered in several colors, in a multitude of languages and with a variety of cases among the many options. About 675,000 of these little dynamos were manufactured from 1912 to 1941 with very few changes.
During the first few years in Groton, a 2nd model of the aluminum Standard Folding Typewriter was produced. Then, a loyal employee that made the move to Groton during the 1909 transition, Otto Petermann (1872 - 1961), was named lead designer for the coming model, the No.3. Petermann got to work. He applied for several patents in 1909 and 1910, improving on Rose's original design. The resulting prototype was inspired and ambitious but it was too costly for upper management. Instead, a scaled back version was produced. The final product, with its black enameled curvier frame, was nothing short of genius. In 1912 the Corona No.3 was ready for retail.
It should be noted that the storied history of the Corona No.3 really begins in 1903 with Frank Rose, the Rose Typewriter Company and the Standard Folding Typewriter that they produced (patent no.754,242). The Standard Folding typewriter was an all aluminum precursor for what was to come. Frank Rose's small company was producing a fantastic little product with boundless potential and that hadn't gone unnoticed.
At the time, Conger was a politician facing a disapproving constituency after The Groton Carriage Company vacated its factory. That was due to the ever expanding growth of the automobile industry and a diminishing demand for horse drawn carriages. By moving the typewriter business Conger had purchased to Groton, the savy state senate member provided short-term construction work for his voters while the new factory was being erected and long-term manufacturing work from the actual production of the typewriters. That's when things went gangbusters.
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