William began working on his typewriter as early as 1903, and possibly even earlier than that. The first patent that was issued to him was for the typewriter's ribbon mechanism. It was patent no.87,307, applied for on June 19, 1903 and awarded on November 5, 1907. Three other patents were also applied for on the same day though two wouldn't be awarded until June 12, 1910 and the fourth on December 26, 1911. The final patent was applied for on February 25, 1905 and issued on August 05, 1913. Why are these dates interesting? Because the McCool was actually only produced for just one year in 1909 which means that William labored for at least 6 years to bring his typewriter to market only to have it disappear almost immediately. Adding insult to injury, two of the patents weren't issued until after production had ceased.
McCool Typewriter No.2
1903 - 1910
Acme-Keystone Manufacturing Co.
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
William Allen McCool (1850 - 1923) was an inventor and businessman who made a name for himself in Beaver Falls, PA. He was involved in the steel and power industries, bicycle and sewing machine industries and, of course, typewriters. Unfortunately for him, despite all the time he invested in developing the McCool, it was one of his least successful endeavors.
William Allen McCool
Patent no.87,307, by the way, was issued to the Union Specialty Company which, in 1906, changed its name to the Acme-Keystone Manufacturing Company. Acme-Keystone would produce all of the McCool typewriters. According to an Industry Directory of Pennsylvania, the factory was located on 7th Street in Beaver Falls. Unfortunately, on April 9, 1909, a fire broke out next door at Factory No.1 of William McCool's Union Drawn Steel Company. Wind helped fan and spread the blaze to the brick two-story, 360-foot-long Acme-Keystone factory. The damage caused was estimated at $1,000.000 and 800 men were left unemployed.
On September 10, 1910, via the legal system, the process of selling off all of Acme-Keystone's holdings had commenced. Everything from ladders to lathes and from any remaining typewriter stock to rugs was to be sold at 10 o'clock a.m., June 12, 1912.
However, before the fire and subsequent holdings sale, for just one year, the McCool was being produced, marketed and sold. At just $25 it was definitely a bargain, and being constructed of just 319 parts and weighing just 12 pounds it would have been considered fairly portable. The McCool typed 84 characters from a double-shift universal keyboard. Application of type was by typewheel and ribbon inking.
The question I have is: What of the McCool Typewriter No.1? Is there any evidence suggesting it ever existed? If not, then why start with a No.2?
Lastly, while researching this McCool, I stumbled on another McCool (here) that was patented at about the same time by another Pennsylvanian.
Much like the Postal, the McCool was a Frankenwriter that borrowed mechanical innovations from other typewriters. It's typewheel was very similar to that of a Blickensderfer. It's hammer was like that of a Commercial Visible while the hammer extension arm was like that of a Chicago. Also like the Postal, the McCool was borrowing technology that was already outdated. By 1909 consumers had already made it clear that type-lever machines were the preferred style of typewriter.
William McCool retired to Florida during the last years of his life where he would eventually die of paralysis in February, 1923. In the title of the obituary published by The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, it referred to McCool as a "Pioneer Manufacture of Beaver Falls"
The Acme-Keystone Manufacturing Company remained in business even after all its holdings were sold off. It's offices were at 200 7th Street which was almost exactly where the old factory stood. The company never produced another typewriter.