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The Chicago Typewriter

The Chicago

Model No.1

​1898 - 1917

Chicago Writing Machine Co.

Galesburg Writing Machine Co.

Chicago & Galesburg, IL, US

The Chicago was the successor to the Munson. In fact, The Chicago No.1 model is virtually identical to Munson Nos.2 & 3. Even the gold embellishments of The Chicago No.1 and Munson No.3. Obviously, they also share the same patent numbers. The earliest of the patents (no.474,350) was applied for in 1891.

Reverand Frederick Woodbury Munson

Samuel John Seifried

Edgar Arnold Hill

Edgar Arnold Hill

The Munson was the collaborative achievement of investor-brothers Lewis Lee Munson (1858 - 1889) and Reverend Frederick Woodbury Munson (1846 - 1921), and inventor Samuel John Seifried (1867 - 1912). After Louis fell ill and died of consumption early into the company's history, Fred was joined by other Munson family. In 1898 the company was sold to Edgar Arnold Hill (1847 - 1905), a Chicago businessman. Hill had a factory on Wendell St. where he briefly produced the typewriters with the original Munson name but he shortly renamed it to The Chicago.

Chicago Typewriter Typesleeve

The Chicago utilized a horizontally-mounted, steel typesleeve in lieu of typebars which rotated and slid left to right. It worked similarly, in principal, to the vertical typesleeve of a Crandall or to the typewheel of a Blickensderfer, whereas the type element twisted and shifted for each desired character. The Chicago also had a unique-to-it rail that had to be pulled out the left side of the carriage prior to typing. Attached to the rail was a rubber hammer that struck the ribbon between the paper and typesleeve in order to apply print, like that of a Hammond. One of the more peculiar facets of The Chicago is its unique keyboard which features a double-shift, three-row WERTY layout with the 'Q"  having been situated next to the 'Z' in the lower left corner. The Chicago was capable of producing 90 various characters from its 32 keys. It sold for between $35 and $50 which was quite reasonable for this well built typewriter.

The Chicago Model 1 Pinstripes Typewriter
Chicago Typewriter

Two versions of the Chicago No.1 were produced though they only differed in decoration. There were the models with scrolls and the models with pinstripes. An altogether different No.3 model began selling in 1903. It was quite the departure both mechanically and structurally. In 1912 the company itself was sold again and renamed to the Galesburg Writing Machine Co. Shortly thereafter the typewriter was renamed to the Galesburg. All production production ended ca.1917.

Other than The Chicago and The Galesburg, these typewriter were rebranded and sold under a myriad of other name variants. Included were the American 10, Conover, Competitor, Baltimore, Draper, Ohio, Standard and Yale. There may be a few others, too. One variant, The Mitzpah, had a carriage that traveled in the opposite direction for compositions in Hebrew.

Munson Typewriter Patent
Munson No.2 Typewriter Ad
Chicago Writing Machine Company Factory
Galesburg Writing Machine Company

Serial numbers for known Chicago No.1 models start around 7,600 and run up to over 86,000 with a significant gap in the 50 and 60 thousands.

Check out an original company letterhead here. Need a User's Manual for your Chicago No.1? Get it here...

Have a Chicago Typewriter for sale. a name variant or other artifact? Please email me at or call +1 (860) 729-2252

The Chicago Typewriter
The Chicago Typewriter
The Chicago Typewriter
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