1892 - 1905
North's Typewriter Manufacturing Company (Ltd)
Hatton Garden, London, England
The Norths typewriter had its typebars standing erect in a semi-circular arrangement that struck down on the platen from behind (rear downstrike). Including the Norths, just three other typewriters were designed with their typebars situated in such a manner: Brooks, Waverley and Fitch. This rear downstrike orientation was an ill-fated attempt at creating a visible typewriter by preventing the typebars from obstructing the view of the typist while composing.
Consequently, because of the typebar arrangement, in order for the Norths to function, the paper had to be coiled prior to use into one basket then fed into another while typing. Though this paper feed function allowed the typist to view two lines at a time, 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 was named after Colonel John Thomas North (not really a Colonel) who started the company by first purchasing the failed English Typewriter Company (Ltd). Along with his investment came the English's inventors, Morgan Donne and George Beverley Cooper. They would also be the actual inventors of the Norths. Other than money and a moniker, Col. North had very little to do with the typewriter. In fact, he passed suddenly on May 5, 1896 while eating raw oysters, just three years after production of the Norths had commenced. The oysters had nothing to do with his passing; 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 monopolizing Peru's nitrate industry with aggressive bond purchases during the War of the Pacific
Inventors Donne and Cooper filed with the UK patent office for the Norths typewriter in 1890. They received that patent in 1891. By 1892 the had a finished product ready for sale and by 1893 they had purportedly sold at least 300 of Norths with 200 of them slated for export to other European countries. A U.S. patent for the typewriter was issued in 1895 (patent no.582,605).
The Norhts factory was set up in a building known as Hatton House, located at 57d Hatton Garden, London. Hatton House was built in 1880 and is still stands to this day. Just prior to the Norths company taking residence there, Sir Hiram Maxim had his factory at the same location. Maxim was the inventor of the first fully automatic, portable machine gun. As stated in the first paragraph, these typewriters weren't successful. The North's Typewriter Company was dissolved in 1905.