|The lineage of the modern "Smith-Corona" typewriter is a long one, and although most people today would only dimly recognize the name, this company and its lineal antecedents go nearly as far back as does the typewriter itself. This page is a tribute to all of the men and women who made the various brands what they always were; extremely modern, competitive and successful.|
|At the close of 1904, the new L.C. Smith Standard typewriter appeared on the market. This machine had rapidly been designed from scratch, and was being built by a company in existence for only a little over a year. The machine incorporated the features of visible writing, which was rapidly taking over the markets, and segment shift, which was quite ahead of its time. The machine produced, seen at right, was quite competitive with the also-new Monarch Visible, being produced by the Smith brothers' old partners, the Union Typewriter Company (through a company, Monarch, especially developed for such production.) The Smith brothers, seen at left (mouse-over for name) knew what they were doing, and eventually came out ahead.|
|Above, L.C. Smith & Bros. No. 1. At left, engineer Carl Gabrielson, who had worked for Union Typewriter for many years and whose expertise directly contributed to the immediate success of the Smith brothers' company.|
|At left, L.C. Smith & Bros. No. 2, courtesy Jim Dax. The modern, fully visible and segment-shifted L.C. Smith machine was as durable as any on the market, and competitive in every way. The machine continued with little real mechanical change -- for none was called for -- for some years, although it was enclosed eventually and converted to left-hand return. However, by the middle 1920's, the competitive situation was changing again.|
|In the late teens and early twenties, all of the major typewriter manufacturers had either produced, or begun to develop, portable typewriters. This growing market seemed to have unlimited potential, especially when one considers the enormous expansion in market for the industry leader, the Corona 3, as produced by the Corona Typewriter Company. By 1925, it was clear that every large maker was into, or would have to respond to, this competitive situation (which Remington and Underwood had been doing for several years, as had Rex and Fox briefly, and as Royal was preparing to do.) L.C. Smith & Bros. took an enormous step by deciding to purchase and merge Corona Typewriter Company, rather than develop an indigenous portable.|
|It may be that Corona was entertaining a buyer at this time; while its small folding Corona 3 continued to sell, it was essentially outmoded by the fully-four-bank Remington portable, at least technically. It was only a matter of time before other makers followed Remington's lead, and Corona itself had developed and produced the non-folding four-bank Corona Four in 1923. The machine was making itself known at the time of the buyout, which happened in 1926.|
|Whatever the case, the creation of L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriters, Inc. created not only one of the largest typewriter manufacturers in the world but also put, in one house, two of the best-known and best-selling typewriter designs (both of which had their beginnings right at the explosion of visible writing typewriters.) The new company was on an excellent footing to compete head to head in both markets with Remington (by now Remington-Rand), Underwood and Royal, and made its first real developments as the days of the Great Depression began to wane. In 1934, the old, lightweight Corona designs were supplemented greatly by a completely new Corona Sterling, which was not only a large and heavy four-bank portable, but also was just the second such machine introduced in the United States with segment shift (the first having been the Barr, which was really never a competitive factor vis a vis the "big four" manufacturers.) Four years later, major improvements occurred. The L.C. Smith standard machine was thoroughly revised; the large portables were totally restyled in what the company referred to as the "Speedline" body; and a new, small and flat portable was introduced that competed with the Hermes machine introduced earlier in the decade and which was causing a stir. At the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, then, L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriters, Inc. had completely competitive, if not superior, products in all three typewriter lines, and was in a condition to move itself ever upward in market share.|
|L.C. Smith & Bros. No. 8 / Will Davis collection
s/n 469709-8 Manufactured 1923
An example of the later No. 8 version, with five-key decimal tabulator, open sides and left-hand carriage return. This version also includes a print alignment fork (not seen on the No. 1 or No. 2 machines above) as well as a back-space key and a ribbon selector, which is in the form of a key (to the left of the tabulator keys.)
|At right, an illustration sent by Peter Weil from a 1905 L.C. Smith & Bros. trade catalog. It illustrates the Gardner Ball Bearing type bar design employed in the L.C. Smith standard machine from the beginning.
At this time, a great deal of discussion was taking place concerning the type bar bearings used in all the various makes of standard typewriter. The major concern was longevity, and specifically related to that the amount of time (or sheer number of strokes) it would take to work a given machine's type bars either out of alignment or loose. Very many designs were developed and heavily advertised by the manufacturers. The design seen here was good enough from the beginning that it was not altered until after the Second World War, by L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriters, Inc. when the change to a slotted type-bar segment was made.
|SMITH-CORONA 1A / David B. Davis collection
This machine appeared in 1938 as a complete cosmetic restyling of the production L.C. Smith standard machine. It incorporated the same individual ball-bearing type bar design as had originally been introduced, even though the type-bar mechanism had been altered slightly a few times and the design had been altered to shift the type bars down, rather than up, years prior. Most of these machines also carry a name, such as "Super Speed" seen on this example. The same design was reintroduced after the Second World War and continued into the early 1950's.
|L.C. SMITH & BROS. No. 2 s/n 106744-2 Manufactured 1911
David B. Davis collection
This is the classic early L.C. Smith machine, with right hand carriage return and type-basket which moves upward with depression of the shift key. It is just new enough to incorporate a back space key (seen to the right of the tabulator bar.) This machine was repainted at some point very long ago, but after rebuilding by Your Typewriterr & Computer works flawlessly. It is capable of high speed, but only with steady rhythm and very sharp keystroke. Notable is the fixed margin rack behind the carriage; the stop on the left side controls line-end, while that on the right controls beginning-of-line. A reversed scale is provided on the margin rack. Note that there is no type guide, or print alignment fork, at the printing point.
|We have a large number of other L.C. Smith and Smith-Corona standard and portable machines to add to these pages, which we'll do as time allows.|
|Both the No. 1 and No. 2 models were offered from the outset, differing in the number of characters typed. The No. 1 is much harder to find than the No. 2, which itself is hard to find today in good shape.|