Masspro

ca.1932

Mass Production Corporation

Jersey City, New Jersey, US

 

The man that invented this typewriter, George Francis Rose (1878 - 1968) was the son of Frank S. Rose (1856 - 1905). Frank invented the Standard Folding Typewriter, the predecessor to the Corona No.3, but died shortly thereafter just as the Rose Typewriter Co. was getting off the ground. George took over the company but it would soon be in dire need of financing. That financing came by way of congressman Ben Conger (1856 - 1922) who took over the company, relocated it and renamed it to the Standard Folding Typewriter Co. Selling his father's company was arguably George's greatest contribution to typewriter history.

George was a small town kid that grew up on the family farm in Hyndsville, NY, went to college and worked in the family business afterwards, got married and even served his country during WWI on the Aircraft Production Board. George was noble. Like his father, George was also an engineer but, unlike his father, he was not original, at least not with typewriters. This leads us to the somewhat familiar yet still foreign Masspro. It obviously resembles a Corona Four though there's no affiliation.

The Masspro, which was an acronym of the company's name, the Mass Production Corp., had patent no.1,524,885 issued for it in 1925 but actual production hadn't commenced until 1932 and it probably ended within just 2 short years. The Masspro was simply the wrong typewriter at the wrong time. It was poorly built with an outdated double-shift keyboard, plus the company was started in the middle of theGreat Depression.

 

In my opinion, during the 11 years between first applying for a patent and the commencement of production, George was most likely perfecting his design, raising money and developing tooling. It is highly unlikely that he opened and closed a factory within just one year without any prior preparation. Also, because the patent drawing differs slightly from any of the know production models, there may also be one or more prototypes that still haven't been found.

George Rose

Masspros were available in four colors with a crinkle finish which included black, blue, green and red. Known serial numbers range from about 1000 to about 3000 which indicates that as many as 2000 examples were produced. However, even at the original low price price of $25.50, Masspros could not compete with the equally priced, better built and more modern Remington, Royal and Corona portables.

 

Thanks to some keen sleuthing on the part of collector G. Burbano (who was lucky enough to have a Masspro of his own) we know that the Mass Production Corp. factory once occupied 190 Baldwin Ave. in the Journal Square section of Jersey City, New Jersey. It was there for just one year, 1932. This Baldwin Ave. building also once housed the factory of the Durham Duplex Razor Co. during the first quarter on the 20th century. During the second half of the 20th century the building failed to secure any long term denizens until it was converted to a self storage facility in 2005. 

Comments? Have a Masspro for sale? Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com or call +1 860 729 2252

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