Swedish-born inventor Charles John Paulson (1864 - 19??) originally designed this typewriter in 1902 and assigned its patent nos.703,082 and 727,552 to Albert John Nothacker of New York. Nothacker started the Eagle Typewriter Co. to produce the machine but also producing it, according to a story in The Iron Age dated August 6, 1903, was the Secretary Sales Co. of Brooklyn. How and why the two companies were affiliated, if at all, and why they were both producing the same typewriter is unclear.
Household Sewing Machine Co.
Providence, RI, U.S.
The Defi typewriter first appeared in advertisements such as the one below dated to the July, 1903 issue of The Typewriter and Phonographic World. In the lineage of this design, the Defi was the successor to the Secretary and Eagle typewriters and the predecessor to the Sterling. It was produced by the Household Sewing Machine Company (HSM Co.) in Providence, Rhode Island at time when HSM Co. was owned by the Secretary Sales Company of Brooklyn. All Defi Sales were handled out of the offices located at 9 East 14th Street in New York.
The same Iron Age story also announced the purchase of the HSM Co. by the Secretary company and that all typewriter production would transition from Brooklyn to the sewing machine factory in Providence. The name of the Secretary typewriter was changed to The Defi shortly thereafter and the Eagle also vanished at this time. Unfortunately The Defi was produced for just another 1 or 2 years at most.
As of now, no known Secretary or Eagle typewriters have been found and images only of the Eagle are known. That makes the few Defi typewriter to have been found the first from the lineage. The Defi was designed with a 3-row, double-shift keyboard, semi-circular type sector print element and ribbon spool inking. It produced 84 characters from a Universal keyboard layout. The entire typewriter measured 12" by 11.5" by 5" and weighed about 9 pounds from its 190 parts. The Defi sold for just $25.
It would be negligent of me not to have mentioned that the Defi on this page has a metal base affixed to it that was not original to the machine. When or why it was added is unknown but, originally, the typewriter would have been screwed to a wood base instead