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Elgin

First year of production:
1889
Company:
Novelty Typewriter Company , New York , USA
Serial nr:
none

Some inventions are so silly that they are not even entitled to carry the name given to them by their inventor. A good example is this 'typewriter' invented by Frank Felt and patented in Aubust 1889.

Felt described this gadget as a 'new and useful writing machine'. It was certainly new, but its usefulness can be debated.
There are two variations of the cardboard box know: one with the figure of a man using the Elgin, one without. The box measures 7.5" by 3" by 1" tall.
The Elgin typewriter itself is nothing more than a piece of wood measuring only 7" by 2" by " tall, with two felt ink pads on either side of the printing area (two open slots where the paper goes in). There is a metal rod running parallel to one side of the "platen", for a primitive alignment. Obviously the alignment was impossible because the type was not large as a stamp, but as small as with any other typewriter, and the only way to have alignment what to coordinate eyes and arm extremely well! The "type-bar" (called "type-head" in the patent) consists of a piece of wood with rubber-type on both sides, that has its end tapered and rounded for handles
The typewriter was originally sold for 1$ (to be sent to Tiffany Mfg.Co., 25 Waverly Place, NY), but after a brief period dropped to 60c or two for 1$ (to be sent to Novelty Typewriter Co., Oswego, NY), but even this price was too much and they ended up giving it away for free to the new suscribers of "The Home Circle" (magazine).

Courtesy of: Mantelli collection