1922 - 1925

The Dayton Portable Typewriter Co.

Dayton, Ohio

From the date of application of its first patent on May 3, 1922 (patent no.1,451,203), to the initial asset liquidation on July 19, 1925 in preparation for receivership of the company that produced it, the Dayton was a mere blip in the history of typewriters. Though, it would not have been unrealistic to have expected more of The Dayton Portable Typewriter Company, which was spearheaded by Charles Underwood Carpenter (1878 - 1928), a celebrated, Princeton-educated authority on manufacturing. Nevertheless, expectations were surely unsatisfied. Oh, the irony.

The Dayton Typewriter Co. was officially incorporated in 1922 but it should be noted that it was in existence as early as 1921. That was when Carpenter filed for patent no.1,564,200 and assigned it to said company. Though the patent was for a typewriter, it was not produced and definitely not for the Dayton that we know.



Today, the Dayton is considered rare. When I acquired the one on this page it was just the 8th found but others are surely out there. Rarity alone doesn't necessarily translate to high value, though, since it is just one of several factors that must be considered. For example, as far as typewriters go, even though it's nearly 100 years old, the Dayton is still a very modern example which resembles nearly every other portable typewriter of its era mechanically, functionally and cosmetically. As a result, value is limited.

As stated earlier, the business failed almost immediately. Receivership was ordered on April 6, 1925 and the initial liquidation followed the next month. The final sale of all the remaining typewriters, tooling, office equipment, designs and everything else commenced on Wednesday, April 28, 1926 at 10 o'clock in the morning. Also included were four pending U.S. patent applications. The patent office awarded them within the next couple years. 

Advertisements for the typewriter began circulating in the latter part of 1924. It cost just $35 and was comprised of 559 total parts. Its case cost an additional $2.50. The typewriter was designed with a frontstrike typebar arrangement with a single-shift, universal keyboard layout. Inking was via ribbon. The internal mechanisms were mostly cast steel while the exterior steel shell was pressed. Ultimately, the typewriter is deceptively heavy and very well constructed. It's appearance, however, missed the mark somehow. Its intentionally utilitarian design and cracker-barrel aesthetic made it look cheap and flimsy. That's probably why Paul Lippman, author of American Typewriters, a Collector's Encyclopedia, assumed it was made of "poor quality" materials. His statement really couldn't be further from the truth.

An interesting feature of the typewriter is the right-hand platen knob which pulls out about 1.5". This was advertised as an accommodation for "extra large envelopes." It's also necessary to pull out and remove the knob completely in order to get at the platen if one were to want to recover it.

According to the typewriter community's patron saint, Ohioan Richard Polt, The Dayton typewriter factory was located at 378 East 1st. Street.

Questions? Comments? Do you have a Dayton of your own? Have one you want to sell? Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com