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Caligraph 1

First year of production:
1880
Company:
American Writing Machine Company , New York , USA
Serial nr:
4023

The Caligraph is closely related to the Sholes & Glidden and the Remington 2. It was in fact the third machine to be sold in the USA. It was produced under supervision from George Yost, one of the people who had been involved in setting up the industry with Remington.


Caligraphs in use in a typing pool (photo: P&C Weil collection) 
The Caligraph 1, which wrote capitals only, appeared in 1880, but the company soon found that this improved typewriter was still flawed. The machine had a perfectly round plated which resulted in uneven printing quality. There were many other minor problems with typebar suspension, ribbon advancement etcetera. And so, in August 1882, the company introduced two new models: The Caligraph 1 Ideal and the Caligraph 2, which wrote lower case and upper case letters from a full keyboard.

The Caligraph 1 Ideal (shown here) had a faceted platen so that the type always struck a flat surface. The machine was also slightly larger than the original Caligraph 1. The suspension of the type bars was improved and there was a renewed ribbon system. All these improvements were also present on the Caligraph 2.*

The Caligraph 1 is said to have remained in production until 1896, although later models with full keyboards were far more popular.

The Caligraph is an odd looking machine with a long, stretched front and two space bars on either side of the keyboard. Very awkward is the spacing mechanism on the Caligraph. The escapement is driven by a long spring that is fitted lengthwise around a bar under the machine. It puts tension on the vertical rod (pic 6) that is seen behind the machine, to pull the carriage when a key is hit. Since the spring is attached to the bottom of the rod, tremendous tension on the spring is needed to provide enough momentum to pull the carriage. No wonder that on many of the Caligraphs found today, the main spring is broken.

Caligraphs are also known for the large decal on the front, that is often missing.

After a disagreement with his partners in the American Writing Machine Company, Yost went his own way again to set up the typewriter company that bore his own name.

(*Source: The Caligraph Quarterly Vol1, No1, Oct 1882)

Courtesy of: Costa collection