Kidder was born in Maine and studied in Boston. At various points during his professional life he manufactured out of NY, CT and MA, as well as abroad. He first patented components relating to the Wellington in 1892 (patent nos.471,794 and 471,795). The primary innovation was a thrust-action typebar arrangement, which meant that rather than striking a platen from underneath (upstrike), from the top (dowstrike) or otherwise, the typebars of a Wellington thrust straight towards a platen. This innovation and ensuing typewriter were one of Kidder's first ventures into the industry he helped shape. It proved to be quite marketable.
1892 - 1924
The Williams Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
Plattsburgh, New York, US
The name Wellington Parker Kidder (1853 - 1924) is almost as synonymous with typewriters as that of Christopher Latham Sholes. Kidder's name is associated with dozens of typewriters, be it directly or indirectly. He was responsible for the Franklin typewriter and the ever elusive Rochester typewriter. He also developed The Noiseless that was later purchased by Remington, which then applied the noise reducing technology to a bevy of models for decades to come. There are also countless clones like the early Adlers, Blick Universal and Melotyp.
For about thirty years, between 1892 and 1924, the design of the Wellington did not change dramatically. However, there were two basic models produced, Nos.1 & 2. The easiest way to distinguish the two is by their keytops. No.1's had square keytops while those of the No.2's were round. Both models had straight, three-row keyboards with a double-shift mechanism. Inking was delivered via an extra-wide ribbon. Wellingtons were produced by the Williams Manufacturing Company of Plattsburgh, NY. They were well built but the passage of time has exposed their metallurgy issues since they are often with lots of rust.
Domestically, some Wellingtons were sold through the Wanamaker Department store of Pennsylvania, which required them rebranded as the Wanamaker-Wellington. One other known name variant was the Davis. However, the real legacy that solidified Kidder's design in typewriter history is what happened to in foreign markets, especially in Europe. In Canada and the United Kingdom it was sold as the Empire. And in Germany, where a bicycle producer named Adler wanted to enter the typewriter industry, adopting the Wellington design proved extremely successful. Adler then rebranded its typewriter as the Protos for the Polish market and as the Orell for the Czech Republic. The Blick Universal, Melotyp, Nototyp, Notoscript, Rochester, Ruff, Pocket, Adlerette, Garbell and several other typewriters were all based on the Wellington's overall design or, in the least, just its typebar arrangement. Kidder's Wellington was easily one of the most influential typewriter designs of all time.