Based on the patent filing date, Frank began working on his typewriter as early as 1883 (patent no.306,761). The patent was awarded in 1884 and it reflects a design similar to the final product. Frank, however, would not fully engage himself with developing and producing the Lambert for another 15+ years. He and business partner John Thomson would spend that time, instead, developing the Thomson Water Company which would manufacture water meters. These meters would prove to be their most lucrative inventions. The two men's partnership dissolved in 1892 when Thompson moved and left Frank with the company, the name and the factory on the corner of Washington and York in Brooklyn.
Lambert Typewriter Company
New York, New York, US
The Lambert was created by French-American Francoise (Frank) Lambert (1851 - 1937), a prolific inventor. Because of its unique form, its also one of my favorite typewriters. On a side note, a little fun fact: Frank Lambert's voice is credited as the one heard on the second oldest known recording still playable on its original device. Anyway, back to the typewriter...
Just before the turn of the 20th century Frank Lambert had finally committed to producing his typewriter. In the year 1900 his machine went into production at his Brooklyn-based water meter factory. Lamberts were less complicated compared to other typewriters, being constructed of just 101 parts, which resulted in a small price tag. By 1900, though, most major manufacturers were either producing or developing the archetypal frontstrike, four-bank, single-shift typewriter, like the Underwood Standard. If Frank Lambert had produced his typewriter in 1884 when it was originally patented it may have been a better fit. The odd thing is that, despite being the wrong typewriter at the wrong time, a respectable quantity of about 17,000 were nonetheless produced among three various models. Of that 17,000, roughly 3,300 were No.1 models like the one on this page, produced during the first year-or-so. Furthermore, a lot of the Lambert's success was due to an aggressive marketing campaign in Western Europe.
Lambert typewriters were licensed by the Gramophone Company in order to be produced abroad. Nipper the dog, the one was used in all those famous Gramophone ads, was also used to sell Lamberts. Garden City and Butler were variant names that the Lambert was rebranded to.
And, no, the Lambert isn't an index typewriter. It has a full keyboard. While using a Lambert, one does not select a character from an index. It has a full keyboard that one may manipulate with one hand or two. In lieu of typebars, the Lambert utilizes a single type element stamp.
There are a couple small characteristics differentiating model Nos.1 and 2 but the major distinction is that the No.1 came with a very basic italics feature. By rotating the keyboard slightly the typewriter would print italics, though, in reality it is simply printed the characters a little tilted. As stated, very basic italics. Nos.1 & 2 had an embossed base while the base of the No.3 was flat an stenciled. Early Lamberts also came with a beautiful domed case adorned with a very handsome Saturn logo. Later models, like the No.3, were sold with an uninspired rectangular case. I don't state this often about typewriters' cases, but, a Lambert No.1 without a case and logo simply isn't complete.
I love Lamberts! Please feel free to email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com
I always find it was amusing when showing a Lambert to a non-typewriter person. Almost always, without fail, they'll tell me that it looks like an antique rotary telephone. Well, I guess it does... kinda'.