Saturday, January 3, 2015

Remington #8,000,000: The Inception

Remington #8,000,000 with Sholes and Glidden prototype circa March 23, 1933 via Peter Weil

Typewriter nerds, rejoice! The Typosphere is just an awesome place and this practically knocked me over when I read my email this afternoon.

A typewriter collector, Peter Weil, contacted me the long way around through uber collector and advocate Richard Polt. He came across the above image of the eight-millionth Remington, a Noiseless 8, being used alongside a Sholes and Glidden prototype that would lead to the first Remington. The plate on front is a dead giveaway. It is indeed the machine in my possession by way of a New York City ebay seller several years ago.

We know from the plate on this machine that it was just a few weeks old at the time. This fills in some historical gaps. Here is more than you would probably want to read about this machine:

Here is the history of this photo as told by Peter Weil. Substitute 'Remington 8' for 'Portable 1'.

"On March 23, 1933, the YWCA held an event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of there invention of the typewriter. More specifically, The focus of the celebration was “…the entrance of women into the modern business world.” I find it dumbfounding that Smithsonian would have loaned the Sholes to them, but my guess is that the YWCA had a lot of clout in Congress to succeed in bowing so important an artifact. I suspect that this specific version is a bit earlier than the one made famous by the image of Sholes’ daughter typing on iyt. Note that these keys are ceramic ones, as on the earlier prototypes, whereas the keys on the example used by the daughter are similar to the latter metrakl-ringed flat ones covered with glass that were used on the first fully marketed Sholes and Gliddens in 1874. I think it also interesting that the YWCA selected a Remington Portable, admittedly, the largest they made at the time, a Model 1, to contrast with and to indicate progress since, the Sholes machine. The # Model 1  was a borderline office machine, but it was a not a full one. Perhaps because it had just been introduced into a tighter office market created by the Depression, Remington, who probably loaned it for the event, wanted it used.

The Acme Co., a news service, printed and distributed multiple copies of the photograph, headlining it as “”How Types Have Speeded Up.” In their caption, they also draw primary attention to the contrasts in the clothing of the two women typists. Clearly, faster types, faster typists (literally and figuratively), and real progress for typewriters and women! (yes, I am being facetious)"

For context, check out Richard Polt's typewriter history highlights:

Thanks Peter and Richard for helping tell the history of this machine!