The Crown utilized a typewheel for printing and a linear index from which characters were selected. Ink was transferred from a felt roller (found between the carriage and typewheel) to the characters on the typewheel as it spun during use. The roller would move out of the way every time a character was selected so that the typewheel could come down unobstructed towards the platen to print. Other than minor mechanical changes and changes to the frame, both Crown models operated in a like manner. Their overall design was basic but well made. Interestingly to me, the Edelmann and Gerda were constructed similarly to the Crown despite being made decades later in Germany.

The original price for a Crown was $20, wooden case inclusive. By mid-1891 the price was dropped to $16. And though the Crown was billed as "A Machine For the Millions," it actually was not. The Crown was a failure. Fun fact: the typewriter was more-or-less named after a water meter which The National Meter Co. already produced. Crown was already a well known and respected brand for them.

Crown

1888 - 1894

National Meter Company

New York, NY, US

 

Byron Alden Brooks (1845 - 1911), one of the more celebrated inventors of typewriters, a central figure in the development of the Brooks, People's, National and Travis, as well as the 1878 shift-key that was first implemented on Remington's No.2 model, also invented the Crown featured here. To the first of the two Crown models, the one with the boxier frame, Brooks attributed U.S. patent no.389,095 which was issued on March 6, 1888. Though, it should be noted that Brooks began working on it as early as May 16, 1881, as evident by the application date for U.S. patent no.272,023 for the Crown's typewheel.

The National Meter Co. of 252 Broadway in New York City handled all of the marketing and manufacturing for both models. The No.1 was first advertised as early as October of 1888 which was when the ad below dates to. The No.2 was advertised as early as November of 1891 according to an ad I found in The Phonographic World. The last ad I found for the Crown was dated to April of 1892. Lastly, according to The American Typewriter Market of January, 1895, the Crown was already off the market prior to them. I surmise that the typewriter was actually off the market as early as 1893. I am aware that every other prior write-up dated the Crown to first having been produced sometime in 1894. I believe this was erroneous information that was simply repeated, unchecked, since it was first published in an October, 1923 issue of Typewriter Topics.

As for my No.1 in my collection, the one with the custom-made green case labeled, "Newark Museum Lending Collection," it has an interesting history. It did, in fact, belong to the Newark Museum and the museum did, in fact, lend it out. All one had to do to borrow it was fill out an attached library card, just as one would for a library book. The last person to borrow the Crown was a 'Mark Christian' on January 20, 2010. I bought the typewriter at a New Jersey auction in December of 2016.

Other than the typewriters I've mention in the beginning, Byron Alden Brooks patented many other inventions, both major and minor and both within and without the typewriter industry. His lasting legacy, though, was one of his first: the shift-key needed for typing upper and lowercase characters. This 140+ year old innovation is still with us today on most of our modern keyboards, and, yes, it was applied to both Crown models, too.

Questions? Comments? Maybe you have a Crown typewriter or related artifacts for sale, please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com or call +1 (860) 729-2252