To support the claim, the Weil collection has graciously provided a Crandall trade catalog featuring this No.4, which was sold alongside the Universal Crandall No.3. The catalog reads, in part:
“We are constantly studying the needs of the market and have found that many cannot pay the high prices demanded for the leading type-bar machines. Neither can they satisfactorily use any of the low grade machines and to meet these conditions we are offering a remodelled Crandall No.1 at $30. This is the cheapest keyboard machine on the market. We are also selling our New Model Crandall No.2 at $50, and will forward catalog on application. Our No.4 Crandall at $65 is our latest product. It is practically our No.2 machine remodelled and is the simplest machine we have yet produced.”
If the passage above doesn't complicate Crandall history enough then the discovery of a U.K. blotter should, courtesy of the Kerschbaumer collection. It advertises a Crandall having been rebranded as the Cosmopolitan. Whether the Cosmopolitan was more closely related to the New Model or the original No.4 is hard to say. After all, according to the catalog from the Weil collection, Crandall was selling both the New Model and the No.4 concurrently.
The catalog, the blotter, the typewriter and its serial number (no.40,490) pose more questions with regards to Crandall legacy. For example, first: What of the mother-of-pearl inlay which was standard to the New Model? The catalog has an image of the No.4 with m.o.p., but known examples are japanned with simple gold pinstripes and embellishments. Second, what exactly was “remodelled” other than the finish because finding any other differences has yielded no results? Third, the Weil catalog mentions a "remodelled Crandall No.1” being sold for a mere $30. What's exactly was that? Fourth, why did Crandall manufacture these remodelled versions? Was it to simply use up old tooling or was it truly to satisfy a specific consumer? Or both?
My final question (for now) pertains to serial numbers. Known No.1s and New Models were serial numbered into the mid 18 thousands. Universal Crandall No.3s were serial numbered in the 20 thousands. The original Crandall No.4s were numbered in the 40 thousands and the later Crandall Visible No.4s were in the 50 thousands. So what happened to the block of serial numbers in 30 thousands? Was Crandall reserving those numbers? If so, for what?
One can only speculate, but maybe, just maybe, the block of serial numbers in the 30 thousands was meant for the mythic Improved Crandall, a typebar machine patented in 1895, U.S. patent no.548,157, that has yet to be discovered. The Weil catalog does mention that the Crandall factory had already produced two typebar machines. One of those may have been the Daugherty, of which Crandall produced the first 1000 according to one of Adler’s books. The other was cryptically referred to as “...a type-bar machine of a distinctly different class,” which would have been a fitting description for the Improved Crandall, yes?
Inquiries, comments and answers so the questions I pose are welcome. If you happen to have a Crandall (any Crandall) or a Cosmopolitan for sale then definitely contact me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com
The Crandall Machine Co.
Groton, NY, U.S.
Most collectors are aware of the Crandall Visible No.4, sold through Sears & Roebuck, with its three-bank Universal keyboard. This, however, is an altogether different No.4. It was a “remodelled” New Model, and it would be fair to refer to it as the original Crandall No.4, ca.1898.