1889 - 1892
Tilton Manufacturing Company
Boston, Massachusetts, US
The Victor owns the distinction of being the first typewriter in history to employ a daisy wheel. It 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 1980s 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 that Jacobs invented the Victor he was living in Hartford, Connecticut. Being from Connecticut 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 have listed and the inventor listed on the Smithsonian's website. Well, after locating the original patent it is quite evident that the Smithsonian is right. Jacobs is the rightful inventor. By the way, The Smithsonian has no less than three (3!!!) Victors in its collection. Jacobs was a prolific inventor and would eventually solidify his place in history as the creator of the Jacobs drill chuck.
The Victor patent was assigned to the Tilton Manufacturing Company of Portland, Maine, though the company would soon move to 115 Purchase Street in Boston, Massachusetts, where the typewriters would be produced. That'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 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.
On April 7, 1891 a man named Edward F. Young attempted to capitalize on the design of the Victor by attempting to electrify it (patent no.449,923). The patent called for the electrification of the character select and printing levers of any similar index typewriter. Young felt that these levers were redundant and that with minimal modification one of them could be eliminated. As of yet none of these electrified index typewriters have been found.
The earliest Victors typed 80 characters (but that was increased to 81 by 1891) which the typist could select from off a semi-circular index. Advertisements claimed users could type "...forty or fifty words a minute" with a Victor. These machines had an 8" by 12" footprint the weighed about 5-1/4lbs. Victors were adorned with gold Art Nouveau decorative elements and came standard with a wood case contoured to the machine's form. A rectangular leather covered wood case or a sole leather case (similar to a handbag) were optional. The cost of a Victor was $15. A cleaning kit was available for $1.
The Victor is a typewriter that I'm always interested in. Have one for sale? Please email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com