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 but dies shortly thereafter just as the company was getting off the ground. The company was then taken over by son George and within a few years he and the company were in dire need of financing. That financing came by way of congressman Ben Conger (1856 - 1922) who took over the company, relocated it, renamed it to the Standard Folding Typewriter and was thus instrumental in the development of the iconic Corona No.3. Selling his father's company was arguably George's greatest contribution to typewriter history.
Don't get me wrong, I like George. He was a small town kid, 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 when with typewriters. This leads us to the somewhat familiar yet still foreign Masspro. It obviously resembles a Corona Four though there's no affiliation. It's probably safe to assume that the George was inspired by them.
Masspro was an acronym for the company's optimistic name, the Mass Production Corporation. Mass produced, however, the Masspro was not. Its patent was first applied for in 1921 (patent no.1,524,885) but production hadn't actually started until 1932, and probably ended that same year. It was simply the wrong typewriter for the wrong time. It was a poorly built frontstrike portable with an outdated double-shift, three-row keyboard made in the middle of The Great Depression.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.
Masspros were available in four colors in a crinkle finish: black, blue, green and red. Based on known serial numbers as much as 2000 may have been made. Even at the low price of $25.50, Masspros could not compete with the equally low priced, better built, more modern Remington, Royal and Corona portables.
Thanks to some keen sleuthing on the part of collector G. Burbano (who is lucky enough to have a Masspro of his own) we know that the Mass Production Corporation 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.
I'm interested in acquiring Masspros in their various colors. Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com