1887 - 1924
Yost Writing Machine Co.
Bridgeport, Connecticut, US
Distinguishing the first three models of Yost typewriters can be tricky because they were so similarly named and similar in appearance. They were the Yost, New Yost No.1 and The New Yost, in that order.
The first model, a true Yost No.1, ca.1887, wasn't clearly marked as such. However, it did have a pair of medallions impressed into the rear parts of the base that subsequent models did not.
The second model was clearly marked as the New Yost No.1, ca.1889.
The third model was marked as The New Yost, ca.1891.
Things finally started to make a little more sense ca,1895 with the fourth model. It clearly read Yost No.4 across its paper table. Model Nos.6 - 9 were wide-carriage version of the No.4.
(click here to see a Yost No.4 souvenir booklet illustrated by Henry Herbault for the 1900 World Exposition held in Paris)
Change came when market pressures forced the Yost company to produce a more modern machine. As a result, the No.15, introduced in 1908, was a true departure from the old. Yes, it still carried the Yost name, but its design was almost wholly a clone of every other four-bank standard typewriter being made. One difference from its contemporaries was that the Yost retained the grasshopper typebars but in a frontstrike arrangement rather than in an upstrike manner.
All of the models up to the No.10 were designed with typebars that kicked like grasshopper's legs hung in a circular, upstrike arrangement. These Yosts also had a full, double keyboard. Their inking and type alignment mechanism were also all the same. The difference among these models were minimal (except for the bulkiness of the No.10). Most changes were minor cosmetic details or slight structural upgrades. Their escapement was constantly tweaked, too. Model Nos.11 - 14 were wide-carriage version of the No.10.
It wasn't until the No.10 model was released in 1905 that the appearance of the Yost was significantly altered. The No.10's frame was built out to enclose more of its inner mechanisms which gave it a bulkier build. Despite the new form the No.10 was still obviously a Yost because, functionally, it was similar to its predecessors and, as we all know, form follows function.
In 1912 the Yost No.20 was placed on the market. It was very similar to the No.20. It was available until 1924. The No.2 was the last of the "grasshopper" Yosts.
George Washington Newton Yost
Yosts were made by the Yost Writing Machine Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. They were the invention of George Washington Newton Yost (1831 - 1895) who, years earlier in 1872, played a key role in convincing Remington to produce the first commercially successful typewriter, the Sholes & Glidden. In typewriter circles the Yost name carried significant gravitas.
Yost production at the Bridgeport factory, which was located at 1087-1155 Railroad Avenue, ended in 1924. The factory was eventually demolished decades later but that was not the end of the Yost story.
At some point a version of the No.20 was produced in Syracuse, New York, probably at the Smith-Premier typewriter factory and most likely after the closure of the Bridgeport factory. This version of the No.20 had its grasshopper typebars replaced with true frontsrike ones and its ribbon spools were moved to the top of the machine. It was the last Yost to be produced.