1906 - 1907

Royal Typewriter Company

Brooklyn, New York, 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 exist.

The next clue I found was a small blurb within patent no.1,044,783 which was filed for in 1907 by inventor Edward Bernard Hess (1857 - 1941). The blurb references an earlier patent and alludes to the Royal Grand. It reads, "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."

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

Clue three is from when, in 1981, the old Royal factory in Hartford, Connecticut was nominated for inclusion to the National Register of Historic Places. The historian that filled out the report made mention that the Royal Typewriter Company, before purchasing a six acre lot in Hartford, manufactured typewriters in a "cramped machine shop in lower Manhattan" at a rate of 25 typewriters per week. The factory that would be built in Hartford wouldn't be ready for occupancy until the winter of 1907/08. The historian also mentioned that the Grand was the first typewriter to be produced by the company and not the Standard.

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 in the Rauen collection.

Royal Grand

The first clue of the Grand revealed itself in an article published in 1907 which states that it was produced concurrently, briefly with the Royal Standard, a.k.a. The Flatbed. The Grand was the higher-end model with "...features beyond what are required by the ordinary user." There was also an image of an early Royal Standard No.1 within the article, one marked with just the letter 'R' on the typewriter's profile. This article leads me to believe that Royal marketed both the Grand and the Standard typewriters at the same time.

Another possibility may have been that the Grand, being the top of the line typewriter, was too pricey and thus fewer were ordered. The Royal Grand cost $100 while the Royal Standard'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 (the top two floors of the building seen here). No matter the other circumstances, Royal simply wasn't producing a large volume of machines in the beginning.

Long story, short - I want one oh-so bad.  Email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com