The Chicago

Model No.1

1898 - 1917

Chicago Writing Machine Co.

Galesburg Writing Machine Co.

Chicago & Galesburg, Illinois, 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's No.1 and Munson's No.3 are similar. The patent dates listed on the front of The Chicago? Those are Munson patents. The earliest of the patents (no.474,350) was applied for in 1891.

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 Street where he briefly produced the typewriters with the original Munson name but he shortly renamed it to The Chicago.

The Chicago utilized a horizontally-mounted steel typesleeve in lieu of typebars. 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's typesleeve rotated and slid left to right. The Chicago also had a unique armature that slid out of the left side of the typewriter which had be set prior to typing. Attached to that armature was an hammer that struck the ribbon between the paper and typesleeve in order to apply print, like with a Hammond. One of the more peculiar facets of The Chicago was its unique keyboard. It featured a double-shift, three-row WERTY layout. The 'Q' was located next to the 'Z' in the lower left corner. The Chicago was capable of producing 90 various characters among its 32 keys. The sale price was between $35 and $50 which was reasonable for this well built 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 difference No.3 model began selling in 1903. It was quite the departure both mechanically and structurally. In 1912 The Chicago Writing Co. was sold again and renamed to the Galesburg Writing Machine Co. The new company changed the name of the typewriter to The Galesburg shortly after the purchase. Galesburg ended production 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 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.

Need a User's Manual for your Chicago No.1? Get it here...

Email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com, especially if you have one of the variants for sale!