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Hamilton Automatic

First year of production:
E.M. Hamilton , Brooklyn, NY , USA
Serial nr:

Major E.M. Hamilton was a New York jeweller with a taste for mechanics. In 1881 he built one of the gems in typewriter history, the Automatic typewriter. It is not quite clear what the meaning of the word 'automatic' was with regard to this machine, although it was equiped with a unique feature: proportionate spacing.

The Hamilton Automatic breathes the athmosphere of the jeweller's workshop. The machine is built with miniaturized parts, like tiny type bars that perform intricate acrobatics to perform an inverted grasshopper motion between their ink pad and the paper.

The case and keytops of the machine are made of brass, giving the machine a spectacular appearance.

Although it is generally accepted as a historical fact that the Columbia Index typewriter was the first machine that produced typewritten text with proportionate spacing, it was in fact the much more rare Hamilton Automatic that introduced this feature for the first time.

The Hamilton factory was active for two years only and production was ceased in 1883, the year that the Columbia Index was introduced. Less than a handful of these spectacular machines survive.

Courtesy of: Casillo collection