1892 - 1905
North's Typewriter Manufacturing Company (Ltd)
Hatton Garden, London, England
The North's typewriter had its typebars standing erect in a pair of semi-circular arrangements, one taller than the other, that struck down on the platen from behind (rear downstrike). Including the North's, just three other typewriters were designed with their typebars situated in such a way: Brooks, Waverley and Fitch. This rear downstrike orientation was an attempt at creating a visible typewriter by preventing the typebars from obstructing the view of the typist.
Consequently, because of the typebar arrangement, in order for the North's to function, the paper had to be coiled prior to use into one basket then fed into another while typing. This paper feed function allowed the typist to view two lines at a time, though the awkwardly placed ribbon covered the immediate print. Overall, and hindsight being 20/20, all of the rear downstrike designs were flawed and thus realized little commercial success.
The typewriter is named after Colonel John Thomas North (not really a Colonel), also known as The Nitrate King. He purchased failed English Typewriter Company (Ltd), along with all its tooling, and with that investment came inventors Morgan Donne and George Beverley Cooper. These two men were the real inventors of the North's, as well as the failed English. Other than money and a moniker, Col. North had very little to do with these typewriters. In fact, he passed suddenly on May 5, 1896 while eating raw oysters just three years after production of the North's had commenced. the oysters had nothing to do with his passing, instead, it is believed that his heart had failed. Though, because he was a wealthy, bullish and unliked capitalist, there was no shortage of conspiracy theories about his unexpected departure. the Nitrate King made his millions by creating a monopoly for himself when he bought up bonds in Peru's nitrate industry during the War of the Pacific.
Inventors Donne and Cooper filed with the UK patent office for the North's in 1890. They received that patent in 1891 and had a finished product ready for sale in 1892. By 1893 they had purportedly sold at least 300 of these machines, 200 of which were slated for export to other European countries. A U.S. patent was issued in 1895 (patent no.582,605).
The company factory was set up in a building known as the Hatton House, located at 57d Hatton Garden, London. The Hatton House was built in 1880 and it still stands to this day. Just prior to the North's company taking residence there, a Sir Hiram Maxim had his factory at the same location. Maxim was the inventor of the first portable, fully automatic machine gun. As stated in the first paragraph, these typewriters weren't successful and the North's Typewriter Company was dissolved in 1905.