|As mentioned earlier, the second of the three ventures (unrelated to the others) was really a series of attempts to manufacture essentially the same odd, unique design of type-bar machine. This design is exceedingly rare, but well known to collectors since it's often pictured. We'll try to hit the highlights and show what we've uncovered.
According to the literature, the first attempt to actually build this design - known simply as the SHOLES VISIBLE - was made in 1901. Supposedly the design had been contributed to by C. Latham Sholes himself, and indeed early patents covering this machine do make reference to two earlier patents granted to the elder Sholes although they are developments and extrapolations of the principles contained therein. Whatever the case, sons Frederick Sholes and Louis Sholes were involved in the series of attempts to get this machine built.
|At left, patent granted to Frederick Sholes in 1904. This shows the channel for the type bars at the front; they're all contained in this, and move to the centerline and toward the platen when a key is depressed. They're st?acked up, from top to bottom, either side inside. Operating mechanism is contained in the flat casing on which the carriage sits.
The form seen at left is probably the earliest - tall ribbon spool shafts, with a squeeze-style carriage return / line-space.
|SHOLES serial 2676
Thomas Fuertig collection
At right, we see a whole machine. Note that this example has a long line-space / carriage return lever on the right side. This is probably a later form than that above; this change occurs after serial number 2215 but before or at 2676. Both these serial numbers are labeled as "A.D. Meiselbach Typewriter Co." on the front.
Research indicates that A. D. Meiselbach manufactured not only these typewriters, briefly, in Kenosha, Wisconsin but also bicycles, motor wagons / motor cars in Milwaukee and perhaps other things as well.
It is always questionable just what the progression of various designs in this series is. However, Typewriter Topics lists the Meiselbach attempt to build this machine at about 1901, and a later string beginning about 1909. Patent information indicates that Meiselbach was probably out of the picture by 1902 since patents issued at that time were assigned to C. Latham Sholes Typewriter Manufacturing Company.
|It is known from trade illustrations that a simpler version of the machine was also built, separately and probably later. Its frame was not curved on the side, but very square and straight; the front was plainer, and more open, and most strikingly the ribbon spools were mounted just either side of the central drive gear seen right above the keyboard. None of the extension shaft work seen above was used; the ribbon looped up over the type bar enclosure and back down. However, that design DID have the long carriage return lever, and the trade picture clearly shows a piece of paper in the machine with "C. Latham Sholes Typewriter Manufacturing Co." letterhead. Further research reveals a number of different companies, with wholly different filings and papers of incorporation, in Wisconsin:
C. Latham Sholes Company
The C. Latham Sholes Typewriter Company
C. Latham Sholes Typewriter Manufacturing Company
(all of which were incorporated in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.)
This makes it seem as if a number of entities were formed to attempt to build the machine between the short Meiselbach production around the turn of the century and the appearance of the simpler machine about 1909. As we know, none was any real success and the design, while interesting, failed completely in the marketplace.
|The third, final venture was really a string of fiascoes and disasters from roughly 1910 to 1917 and concerned the efforts of Zalmon G. Sholes to get back into the typewriter business with a new design for a front-strike standard machine with conventional type-bars, slotted segment and modern features. The machine was built briefly first in Connecticut as the WATERBURY (Waterbury Standard Typewriter Co.) and then as the ACME (Zalmon G. Sholes Typewriter Company.) This venture failed, and Zalmon tried then to get it off the ground in England! He set up production in England where the machine was made in small numbers as the ZALSHO from 1913-1915. War intervened and production came back to the United States; a short succession of firms tried to get it off the ground as the Z.G. SHOLES and then just as the SHOLES but these failed. Zalmon himself died in 1917, and the project, probably mercifully, was ended - which also marked the last serious attempt at contribution to the typewriter business by the Sholes family. Frederick Sholes filed one further patent for a dual typewriter in 1922, which came to nothing; with these actions the Sholes family finally exited the field of new typewriter designs.|
|At left, a patent by Zalmon Sholes which was filed in 1910 and granted in 1912. Note the interesting design of key lever - type bar mechanism. Key levers are full length, and are hinged at point 15 on the diagram. The key levers are interesting for their right-angle bend and mounting in the half-tube or half-ring (16) channel that runs along the rear of the machine. Intermediate levers are hinged at their bottoms (21) and motion is imparted to them by the key levers through pin and slot connection behind the hinge point (22). Intermediate levers move backwards pulling intermediate link 19 which raises type bar 13 to the print point, being hinged in slotted segment 12.|
|At right, another patent by Zalmon Sholes which may indicate that there were actually some different machines in this progression. This is a 1914 submission that shows a wholly different key lever - type bar mechanism. Key levers 29 are hinged at their back ends, 30 without the bend as seen previously and are mounted in a more conventional manner. Motion is imparted to intermediate levers 20 by a different kind of pin and slot connection at 28, with arcuate lower ends of the intermediate levers. Intermediate levers move clockwise as seen in this view around point 25, pulling intermediate link 19 which pulls type bar 18 to print point. This machine is segment-shifted.
Were the late Waterbury / Acme / Zalsho / Sholes machines NOT variants of the same design? Existing illustrations of the Zalsho and the Sholes seem to indicate that they may NOT be, although this is a hazardous guess. However, we can look at these patents and wonder if there were not at least some attempts to improve or modify the designs over time.