Temporary Exhibit: Typewriters

A bright and charming young gentleman named Britton Dunn has interned with us at the Museum for the past two summers. He LOVES this Museum, and has had a strong hand in just about everything we've done since Francesca and I began working here in mid-June - including orienting and training US. :-)

I'm sharing this with you now so that you can enjoy SOME of the great fruits of Britton's skilled and passionate labor before he returns to Greensboro, North Carolina and his senior year at Guilford College at the end of next week.

Highlights of our Typewriter Collection

By Britton Dunn, Intern Extraordinaire

July, 2015

Oliver no.9 c.1906

The goal of this typewriter retrospective is to showcase the innovations that moved the typewriting industry forward in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Companies showcased include Oliver, Remington, Royal, Underwood and Smith-Corona.  The exhibit provides insight into how these companies evolved over the 100+ years of typewriter dominated word processing.  


Founded in 1903 as the LC Smith & Bros. Typewriter Company, this company has endured the test of time. Smith-Corona is one of the few companies in this exhibit to still be operating today (though now as a label producer).  Prior to its founding, the LC Smith name had been affiliated with two major companies; The LC Smith Shotgun Company in 1880 and the Smith Premier Typewriter Company in 1887.  In 1905, the company sent a LC Smith & Bros. Model No. 1 typewriter to the reporter's’ office of the New York Herald; where it operated for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 8 years when it was then used intermittently in other departments for the next ten years.  In 1926, the company merged with the Corona Typewriter Company to form LC Smith & Corona and in 1949 changed its name to Smith-Corona Inc.

  An old Smith-Corona electric typewriter magazine advertisement

An old Smith-Corona electric typewriter magazine advertisement


The major innovation of Remington typewriters was their design of the QWERTY keyboard layout in order to slow typists down in order to keep typewriters from jamming; an alphabetical layout had been most common previously.  The QWERTY layout, designed in 1873, is still the standard keyboard layout on tablets and computers today.  

Remington no.10 Standard c.1908


Founded in 1904 in a machine shop in Brooklyn, the Royal Typewriter Company turned to financier Thomas Fortune Ryan to back the production and promotion of their innovative machines.  Breakthroughs included: friction-free, ball-bearing, one-track rail to support the weight of the carriage, a new paper feed, a lighter and faster typebar action, and complete visibility of the words as they are typed.  

Royal no.10 Keyboard c.1934


Founded in 1895, the Underwood Typewriter Company would soon become the largest producer of typewriters in the world. Their production equaled all other typewriter manufacturers in the world combined by the 1920’s.  The factory, housed in Hartford Connecticut, produced on average one typewriter every minute.  Underwood typewriters were favored by such famous authors as F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, and Jack Kerouac.   

We hope you'll look for the our Temporary Exhibit: Typewriters should you visit in the near future. It will be on display for at least the next several weeks.

Thank you SO much, Britton, for all your hard and good work! The respect and affection you have for the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation has been obvious each and every day. Thank you for showing me the ropes and sharing your knowledge and passion with me. 

We will miss you.