The Kruse

The Kruse Typewriter

1890 - 1891

Kruse Mfg. Co.

New York, NY, US

 

Robert Hawley Ingersoll (1859 - 1928) was one-half of the Robert H. Ingersoll & Brother Co., an outfit that was started in 1879 when the two men moved to New York from Michigan. With just $175 between them, their first venture in manufacturing was the production and selling of printing blocks from their 6' by 10' work space. Twenty years later they would had a thriving mail-order catalog business with office and retail spaces in New York City. Their factory, which employed about 150 men, was in Linden, New Jersey. The Ingersolls produced cameras, watches, cyclometers, locks, toys, souvenirs and all sorts of metal goods. They also produced index typewriters like the the Dollar and the Ingersoll. But before these, there was The Kruse.

The Kruse Typewriter Patent
Kruse Mfg Co Directory

Robert Ingersoll was the Kruse's inventor for which he was awarded patent no.429,195 on June 3, 1890. There was no other inventor, nor company nor assignee listed on the patent so, to assume that Ingersoll and company would produce this machine would be understandable, but wrong. One clue about its actual manufacturer is the name itself, Kruse, which is too peculiar to be random. The Dollar, for example, wasn't just a typewriter, it was a brand. The company made watches, pens, and strops, all of which were branded as the "Dollar." The Ingersoll typewriter was simply named after its inventor. So what of the The Kruse? Where did its name originate?

Robert H. Ingersoll and Brother
The Kruse Typewriter

The name actually belonged to Charles Kruse, president of the Kruse Check & Adding Machine Co. and proprietor of the Kruse Mfg. Co. Both were located at 124 East 14th Street, New York City. The company made sewing machine parts, gas and steam engine parts, cash registers and adding machines and, by January of 1891, it was also producing typewriters and listed as such in The Office Men's Record's directory of writing machines manufacturers.

Kruse typewriters were for $5 each to the general public and for $4 to dealers. Had a dealer purchased a bulk order of 100 units the price would have been discounted to just $3 per typewriter. The Kruse was constructed mostly of metal, less the rubber platen. It even had a "solid metal typewheel." The typewheel was inked by a roller and controlled by a cord connected from the rear to the linear index.

Kruse Typewriter

Ingersoll & Co. did well for itself, primarily as a pocket watch maker. Other than the Dollar and Ingersoll the company would also produce the Darling and the New American typewriters. Why the company itself did not produce the Kruse is unknown.

All evidence suggests at least one definite truth: the Kruse was a failure. There was no marketing campaign nor any other clues linking the Kruse Manufacturing Company to the typewriter industry outside of 1890/91.

The Kruse Type Writer Ad

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