James Densmore

Obviously, The Densmore name carried some gravitas. But, since J. Densomre died in 1899, and Densmore typewriter production hadn't begun until 1891, he had little to do with the machines. James' brothers Amos (1825 - 1898) and Emmett (1837 - 1911), instead, took advantage of their fortuitous moniker. Amos had experience with typewriters having worked on the Sholes & Glidden while Emmett had the necessary deep pockets. Two other men were also instrumental in the development of the Densmore. They were Walter J. Barron and Franz X. Wagner, the primary designers (see patent no.484,132).

There were three versions of the No.1 model which were all produced in Springfield, Massachusetts at The Merritt Manufacturing Company. This was the same factory that produced the Merritt typewriter. The Densmore brothers eventually bought the Merritt factory and changed its name to The Densmore Typewriter Company.


1891 - 1910

Densmore Typewriter Co.

Springfield, Massachusetts, US

James Densmore (1820 - 1889) was quite instrumental in the development, and eventual production, of the first commercially successful typewriter, the Sholes & Glidden. If it wasn't for his initial investment, and subsequent financial backing during the machine's developmental years, one can only speculate if the Sholes and Glidden would have actually been mass produced. It was, after all, James Densmore who contacted salesman George Washington Newton Yost, who in turn found a buyer and manufacturer in the E. Remington & Sons Company.

Amos Densmore

Emmett Densmore

The earliest version of the Densmore, No.1a, like the example at the top of this page, was easily identifiable by its ringed linkage and a nameplate in front of the carriage. The second version, No.1b, like the one at the bottom of this page, no longer had the ringed linkage nor the nameplate. The 3rd version, No.1c, was marked with "No.1" where the nameplate used to be. All of the No.1 models had upstrike typebar arrangements with 38-key-keyboards which produced 76 characters. In 1894 a No.2 model was marketed with 42 keys that produced 84 characters. Each subsequent model was clearly marked.

What distinguished Densmores from other typewriters was their carriage which was completely and easily removable. Furthermore, the platen could be removed from the carriage just as easily. Another innovation was their ball bearing typebars which produced a smoother typing experience and which the company marketed as "The Ball Bearing Densmore."

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