Royal Grand Typewriter

Royal Grand

1906 - 1907

Royal Typewriter Co.

Brooklyn, NY, US

 

There are ubiquitous typewriters out there like the Underwood No.5 and the Royal No.10, and then there are typewriters that are like ghosts. There is very little known of them and their sightings are always met with skepticism. The Royal Grand is one such apparition. I've found few clues that support the existence of any Royal Grands but, yes, they do actually exist.

Royal Grand Typewriter Article, 1907
Edward Bernard Hess

Edward B. Hess

The first clue of the Grand revealed itself in the review above published in 1907. It stated that the typewriter was produced concurrently, briefly with the Royal Standard, a.k.a. the "Flatbed." Of the two, the Grand was the higher-end model with "...features beyond what are required by the ordinary user," as the reviewer put it. The same review also mentioned the Flatbed model which is provides evidence that the Grand and flatbed were produced at the same time.

Royal Grand Typewriter

The next clue was from within patent no.1,044,783 which referenced the Grand by name. The patent was filed for in 1907 by inventor Edward Bernard Hess (1857 - 1941). The reference read, "The machine indicated in the drawing is of the general style disclosed ... and known as the 'Royal 'Grand having been manufactured by the Royal Typewriter Company."

Clue No.3 was from when in 1981 the old Royal factory in Hartford, CT was nominated for inclusion to the National Register of Historic Places. The historian that filled out the report made mention that the Royal Typewriter Co, before purchasing a six acre lot in Hartford, produced typewriters in a "cramped machine shop in lower Manhattan" at a rate of 25 typewriters per week. He further mentioned that the Grand was the first typewriter to be produced there.

The final clue?... well, a few Grands have already been found and are in private collections, including the one at the top of this page which is part of the Rauen collection.

So why were so few of these produced? There is evidence that the Grand infringed on Remington's patents. There may also have been tensions between Royal and Remington when Charles Cook, a Remington executive, left Remington for Royal. The Remington Typewriter Co. was liberal when it came to taking competitors to court and Royal might have thought it wasn't worth its efforts to fight the case.

Another possibility may have been that the Grand, being the top-of-the-line model, was too pricey and thus fewer were ordered, especially if the Flatbed sufficient. The Grand cost $100 while the Flatbed's price was just $65. Why spend the extra money on "...features beyond what are required by the average user?"

Lastly, as mentioned, Royal was producing just 25 typewriters per week out of its first factory in New York (located in the top two floors of the building seen here). Such low volume, coupled with all the other mitigating circumstances, help paint a clearer picture of the Grand's failure.

Royal Grand Typewriter Patent
First Royal Typewriter Factory in New York

Long story, short... I want one oh-so bad Have a Royal Grand Typewriter for sale? Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com or call +1 860 729 2252