The Kruse

1890 - 1891

Kruse Manufacturing Company

New York, New York, US

 

Robert Hawley Ingersoll (1859 - 1928) was one-half of the Robert H. Ingersoll & Brother Company, a company that was started in earnest 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 have 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 typewriters of the index variety like the The Dollar and The Ingersoll. But before these, there was The Kruse.

Robert Ingersoll was the Kruse's inventor and, on June 3, 1890, he was awarded patent no.429,195 for it. There was no other inventor, no 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, The 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?

The name actually belonged to Charles Kruse, president of the Kruse Check and Adding Machine Company and proprietor of the Kruse Manufacturing Company, 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, the company was also producing typewriters. In fact,  it was listed in The Office Men's Record's directory of writing machines manufacturers.

Kruse Mfg. Co. sold individual Kruse typewriters for $5 to the general public and for $4 to dealers. Had a dealer purchased a bulk order of 100 units then that would have discounted the typewriters to just $3 each. 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.

Ingersoll and Co. did well for itself, especially with the legacy it left behind as a pocket watch maker. Adding to the Dollar and Ingersoll, it would eventually produce The Darling and The New American typewriters, too. Why the company did not produce the Kruse itself 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 typewriter industry outside of 1890/91.

I would gladly cover one (maybe two) of your mortgage payments in exchange for The Kruse. Email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com