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Franklin 7

First year of production:
Franklin Typewriter Co. , Boston , USA
Serial nr:

The Franklin typewriter is one of the most striking looking machines in history. Particularly the round keyboard gives the machine a unique and unmistakable profile. The downstrike machine was invented by Wellington Parker Kidder, who invented the thrust action typewriter only several years later.

The first patent for the Franklin was filed in 1889 and granted two years later to the Tilton Manufacturing Company. The first typewriter was produced in 1891 and sold through the Franklin Typewriter Company. By that time, the inventor had already gone in search of greener pastures and had invented the thrust action machine that would be sold with his own name on it: the Wellington. (The Wellington was also produced as the Empire, and was the model for the world famous early Adlers.)

What was new about the Franklin was that it was the first machine to use a gear action to bring the type down on striking a key. This system was still in use on some brands more than half a century later.

The mechanical differences between the different Franklin models are quite small and there have been different ways to distuinguish them. Not until the release of the Franklin 7 did the company actually begin to number the models.
The machine shown here is regarded as the 'Type II' Franklin, or Model 3 or 4. The serial number of 2183 shows how few of the first Franklin model were built. That machine, decorated with an elaborate decal is extremely rare.

The Type II was labeled 'The Franklin' and had a nickel-plated plate of the manufacturer in the center under the keyboard. The Type II was followed by the 'New Franklin' (or models 5 and 6).

Courtesy of: Robert collection