The No.1 model featured two spacebars and a full (double) keyboard with one set of uppercase keys and another of lowercase. It was designed with an upstrike typebar arrangement. Two of the more interesting mechanical features included a ribbon that zig-zagged as the machine was used and an internal 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 1st models sold well. So much so that the Smiths exited the firearms business to concentrate exclusively on writing machines. They erected a new factory to support the booming business in Syracuse, NY on the corner of Clinton and Onondaga Streets. .
The Smith-Premier brand was quite successful in its day. Several models were produced, both with the Smith brothers at the helm and also after they moved on. The No.1 was followed by Nos.2 - 9. The most notable differences between the latter models and the No.1 were the single spacebar which replaced the original two-piece design and the application of simple pinstripes which replaced the elaborate Art Nouveau panels. In 1908 a No.10 model was introduced with a more modern frontstrike typebar arrangement but still with a double keyboard. The Simplex model of 1914 was a variant of the No.10, just 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 Co. was 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 manufacturers was Alexander Timothy Brown. Mr. Brown was an inventive fellow in whom the Smiths had enough faith to give full creative license in the creation of a new typewriter. That typewriter would be the Smith-Premier No.1, patented in 1889 under patent no.411,421).
Alexander T. Brown
The Smith-Premier company joined typewriter manufacturers Remington, Yost, Densmore and Caligraph in 1893 to form the Union Typewriter Co. What did all these manufacturers have in common? They all produced blindwriters (though other styles of writing machines were also represented by brands such as 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 often bullied smaller companies that would 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 Smiths 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 Smiths disposed of their shares in the very company they founded and effectively left the Smith-Premier brand to the Union. Thus, in 1903, the brothers formed the L.C. Smith & Brothers Typewriter Co.
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.