Gorham Sterling Silver Corona
L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriter Inc.
Groton, New York
Serial Number 1011521V
Fellow collector Alan Seaver, whose website is machinesoflovinggrace.com, probably wrote one of the first and still best pieces on this model. He writes that, in short, to coincide with the release of its new Flattop portables, Corona commissioned Gorham to produced an initial 184 examples with panels made of sterling silver for promotional purposes. As such, the rear panels of these bore Gorham's 1930's hallmarks: a rampart, an anchor and an Old English uppercase letter G. Sterling silver examples should not be confused with Corona's regular Sterling model which was made of japanned steel, not silver.
Of the two images below, one is of how a window display at your local typewriter dealership would have been arranged with one of these promotional Gorham Coronas. The other is of the only known surviving example of one of the wood bases from that display.
After the original run 184 examples, a short story in The New Yorker suggested that despite The Great Depression, which had crippled the country at the time, Gorham examples were so popular that "the Corona people have sold more than a thousand silver typewriters to date." The story quotes a price of $95 but actual ads indicate a price of $125, which included "Sea Robin" grain leather case.
One of the more notable owners of a Gorham Corona was American author and journalist Gwen Bristow (1903 - 1980). She's seen here plucking away on hers in a 1937 photo which I purchased on eBay. The typewriter was a gift to her from husband and fellow author Bruce Manning. Stories of the extravagant gift began circulating in a few newspapers during the latter part of 1935 so my assumption is that it was gifted to Bristow for her birthday on September 16th. And just in case anyone is curious, no, my Gorham is not the one Bistrow owned... but wouldn't that be an exhilarating find!
My example, and the original display, once belonged to the late Don Sutherland (1944 - 2010). Don was, and is, one of the legends of our hobby. Not only was he an elite collector, but also an avid researcher, historian and writer. When on the hunt, Don managed to unearth a Wagner, Index Visible, Hull, Crary, Sholes & Gliddens (yes plural), Crandalls, Burnett, Cash and my Tell, just to name a few. He would travel the country to research some of his typewriters and then, willingly, share the knowledge he'd gained within the pages of various periodicals on typewriters and several antiquing magazine. Don also wrote The Typewriter Legend: Published by Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, Secucus, New Jersey, 1985.
Questions? Comments? Have a Gorham Corona for sale? Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com