The No.1 model featured a full (double) keyboard--one uppercase and one lowercase--as well as two spacebars. It was designed with an upstrike typebar arrangement which meant that typists could not see the text while it was being typed. Two of the more interesting mechanical features include a ribbon that zig-zagged as the machine was used and a hand-cranked brush for cleaning the typebars. Aside from the typewriter's mechanical features the machine showcased beautiful Art Nouveau panels around its base. These typewriters sold well and, eventually, the Smiths exited the firearms business to concentrate exclusively on writing machines. A new factory was erected in Syracuse, NY, on the corner of Clinton and Onondaga Streets, to support the booming business.
The Smith-Premier brand was quite successful and, so, several models were produced, both with the Smith brothers at the helm and after they moved on. The No.1 was followed by Nos.2 - 9 which were nearly identical to the No.1. The most notable differences between the latter models and the No.1 were the single spacebar--it replaced the original two-piece design--and the elaborate Art Nouveau panels were replaced in favor of simpler pinstripes. In 1908 a No.10 model was introduced which featured a frontstrike typebar arrangement, though still with a double keyboard. The Simplex model of 1914 was a variant of the No.10 stripped of several features. The No.15 was also similar to the No.10.
1889 - 1940
Smith-Premier Typewriter Co.
Syracuse, New York US
The Smith-Premier Typewriter Company is named for brothers Lyman, Hurlburt, Monroe and Wilbert Smith. Prior to entering the typewriter industry these men were gun manufacturers. Under their employ as gun makers was a man by the name of Alexander Timothy Brown. Mr. Brown was an inventive fellow whom the Smiths had enough faith in to give full creative license in the creation of a new typewriter. That typewriter being the Smith-Premier No.1, patented in 1889 (patent no.411,421).
In 1893 Smith-Premier joined typewriter manufacturers Remington, Yost, Densmore and Caligraph to form the Union Typewriter Company trust. What did all these manufacturers have in common? They all produced blindwriters (though there were other styles of writing machines represented, too, by brands like the Merritt and Brooks). The Union was a way to pool the vast resources of these companies to promote their products. Through advertising, price fixing and often through legal action, the Union bullied smaller companies that chose not to fall in line. Eventually, as public demand for visible typewriters grew, the top brass at Smith-Premier knew it was time to give consumers what they wanted. The Smith brothers wanted to produce a frontstrike typewriter that would compete directly with the new-to-the-market Underwood but their ambitions were not well received by the rest of the Union. Through some legal wrangling the Smith brothers disposed of their shares in the very company they founded and effectively left the Union. Obviously, they could no longer use the Smith-Premier name, so, in 1903, the L.C. Smith & Brothers Typewriter Company was formed.
Smith-Premiers were also used as the platform for the Buckner Lino-Typewriter and its successor, The Linowriter.
In 1921 the Remington Typewriter Company fully absorbed the Smith-Premier brand. Almost immediately, all newly produced Smith-Premier standard and portable typewriters were nothing more than rebranded versions of either Remington or Monarch typewriters (Remington also owned Monarch). Smith-Premier ceased to exist in any facet in 1940.
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