Pittsburg Visible

1897 - 1929

Pittsburg Writing Machine Co.

Kittanning, Pennsylvania, US

Rumor has it that the birth of the Pittsburg began with the death of a  ̶s̶a̶l̶e̶s̶m̶a̶n̶  manager at the Daugherty typewriter factory (Pittsburg Nos.9 & 10 are nearly identical to the Daugherty). Purportedly, in 1897, "through the incompetency of a manager of the company," 2,500 Daugherty typewriters were made with a defect and had to be scrapped. Since the company wasn't able to fulfill their backlog of orders it was forced to sell its patents and newly built factory. The new company was named the Pittsburg Writing Machine Company.

James Denny Daugherty

Inventor James Denny Daugherty (1855 - 1939) patented the original Daugherty design in 1891 (patent nos.457,258 and 478,925) which the new company adopted. Te earliest Pittsburg models were quite similar to the latter Daugherties down to the nickeled spacebar and ribbon spools. James Daugherty stayed with the new company to assist with operations.

The Daugherty/Pittsburg design was the first fully visible, four-bank, frontstrike typewriter to have been produced commercially, even before the Underwood. They were also constructed with a removable type segment which made maintenance quite easy and allowed for easy substitution of typeface. The elongated open frames of Nos.9 & 10 were replaced with a more conventional and enclosed one beginning with the subsequent No.11, though the interchangeable type segment was retained.

One could assume that given how innovative these typewriters were, and at the fair price of $75, that they would surely be hugely successful, but they were not. Their success was measurable, notable but not gangbusters. In 1910 The Union Typewriter Company bought the Pittsburg company and operated in until 1929. J.D. Daugherty stayed on until 1913.

The factory that James Daugherty originally erected was located on the corner of South Jefferson Street and Indiana Ave. in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Today the factory is gone. The section of South Jefferson Street that the factory occupied is still there but it has been stripped of its name. It's now a sad, nameless road that goes nowhere.

You may ask, "Where's theat the end of Pittsburg?" Well, in 1891 The US Board on Geographic Names tried to force all US cities having the -burgh suffix to adopt the Germanic h-less version. Pittsburgh's major institutions, including the local gazette, stock market and university did not comply in protest. Even though the city's name was original spelled without the h, the city's denizens preferred the spelling they've become so familiar with. The decision was reversed in 1911 and the city retained its h.

Comments? Have a Pittsburg Typewriter for sale? Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com

or call +1 (860) 729-2252