1889 - 1892
Tilton Manufacturing Company
Boston, Massachusetts, US
The Victor Type-Writer holds the distinction of being the first production typewriter in history to employ a daisy wheel for its type element. This was a significant milestone and innovation in the progression of the typewriter. so much so that the daisy wheel would be used well in to the 1980's on some word processors. The Victor was patented in 1889 (patent no.409,289) and invented by Arthur Irving Jacobs (1858 - 1918). At the time Jacobs invented the Victor he was living in Hartford, Connecticut, and, as a resident of this state, I feel a particular pride knowing that this is yet another typewriter that has roots here in the Constitution State.
When thumbing through my various typewriter books for information on the Victor I noticed there was a major discrepancy between the inventor(s) they had listed and the inventor listed on the Smithsonian's website. Well, after locating the original patent became quite evident that the Smithsonian was right all a long listing Jacobs as the rightful inventor. Having been a prolific inventor, Jacobs solidified his place in history not with the Victor, but with the Jacobs drill chuck.
The Victor patent was assigned to the Tilton Mfg. Co., then of Portland, Maine before it relocated to 115 Purchase Street in Boston, MA, where the typewriters were produced. It's the same Tilton Mfg. Co. that later produced Wellington Parker Kidder's earliest Franklin typewriter models. The location where the factory once stood is now a fire department.
Victor typewriters had an 8" by 12" footprint and weighed about 5-1/4 lbs. They were adorned with gold Art Nouveau elements and came standard with a wood case contoured to the machine's form though other case options were also available. The price for one of these typewriters was $15. A cleaning kit was available for an additional $1. Ads claimed that users could type "...forty or fifty words a minute" with a Victor. The earliest Victor models typed 80 characters but that was increased to 81 by 1891.
Arthur Irving Jacobs
Victor typewriters were produced with minimal success seemingly over just 2-3 years. Outside a distribution network stateside that reached as far as Chicago, Illinois, there were also sales offices in the U.K., Amsterdam and possibly Germany. In late 1891 some agents began offering 20% discounts which brought the sale price down to $12 per Victor. By 1892 there were no advertisements for the Victor in any publications.
In 1891, a man named Edward F. Young referenced the Victor in patent no.449,923, Young proposed electrifying the character-select and printing levers of any similar index typewriter. He felt that these levers were redundant and that with minimal modification one of them could be altogether eliminated. No such electrified index typewriter has yet been found though would be interesting in one were.
Click here to see the the Axial typewriter, a non-production demonstration model that preceded the Victor.