|Here are a few more SUN Standard Typewriter illustrations. This is the first front-strike keyboard machine designed by Lee Burridge, who at the time was described in one publication essentially as more knowledgeable than any other man about the design, construction and manufacture of writing machines.
My example, seen above and right, is s/n 14962.
|At left, illustration of the patent generally covering the No. 2 and No. 3 machines. The No. 2 had 27 keys with double shift, thus typing 81 letters and figures. No. 3 had more, and also had more elaborate features. "The History of the Typewriter" by G. C. Mares, written during the time these machines were actually on the market, indicates that the No. 2 was for private individuals but that the No. 3 was suitable fully for office work. There was also an aluminum-frame No. 2, lightened for easier travel and portability.|
|These early Sun Standard machines used an often-described ink roller system, wherein each type slug picked up ink from a roller on its way toward the platen. The novel, and patented feature of Burridge's system was the fact that this roller was swung from this contact, and made contact with an ink-supply reservoir to allow replenishment of supply. This extended the amount of time one could type before having to re-ink the machine, beyond that achieved by any other ink-roller machine. Still, though, this feature was outdated, and (as also often mentioned) later designs employed ribbbons. The problem is that you don't often see these.|
|At right, a shot from Tilman Elster. This is the Sun Standard No. 6, which is one of the later machines which is not only a ribbon-equipped design, but which also is a four-bank single-shift design as well.
The ribbon spools can be made out on the sides of the machine. The shafts are horizontal; the ribbon travels through guides to the print point, changing orientation.
Notable is the highly unusual profile of this machine, certainly distinctive, and actually quite interesting.
On the earlier three-bank double-shift machines, the same key lever is used for either "figs" or "caps" shifting. This is accomplished by the fact that a toggle arrangement is given to the dual-keytop lever; when one side is depressed, the lever moves very slightly to the side, which either allows the lever to miss, or makes the lever hit, a small travel stop. Thus, this toggle action allows one key to perform both shift functions by variable travel.
|Our next illustrative shot provides something again not often seen, which is perspective.
Here, my Sun Standard No. 2 is placed next to the highly familiar early design of Corona No. 3. This latter is something everyone is familiar with. We can clearly see that the Sun is actually quite a bit larger; what's not apparent is the fact that the Sun is actually very heavy for its size. This is no ordinary machine -- not quite portable, but not quite standard.
The round silver object in front of the platen is the aforementioned auxiliary ink reservoir.
|SUN STANDARD No. 2
Three-bank double shift frontstrike manufactured 1901-1907 by Sun Typewriter Company, New York. This machine augmented and then replaced the index-style No. 1 in the Sun line, having nothing at all in common with it (except that both were patented by Lee Burridge) and essentially appearing soon enough that the company's survival was assured. Other SUN frontstrike models appeared later.
This machine does not employ ribbon inking; rather, it uses an ink roller. This roller is replenished from a secondary ink reservoir, which in itself is unique and was also patented.
The company did survive a number of years, although it was never a serious contender for office standards.
|Sun Typewriter Company appears to have lasted into the 1920's; there are various machines roughly like the No. 2 and No. 6 known to exist, and patents have been found for a fairly conventional four-bank portable that was never built. It is likely that the Great Depression ended the company's production -- even if the corporate shell survived longer.|
|Working with the Sun Standard No. 2 is a very primal, basic kind of typing experience. The machine has a very simple but effective type-bar mechanism which seems to count not only on a spring but on gravity for the rapid return of the type bars to the resting points. The action does require some force in striking, though, as my machine seemed to stick type-bars at the print point if they were not thrown hard enough to the platen. When operated stiffly, though, the machine was actually pleasant enough in its typing action and capable of perhaps moderate speed.|
|The machine includes neither a conventional carriage release nor a back-space key. In order to release the carriage, the silver lever seen on the front frame is operated; this allows the space-bar to fly up, releasing the escapement and allowing the carriage to travel freely by hand (against drawband tension, of course.) The escapement is triggered either by the space bar linkage or by a lever estension of this same linkage, which is hit by the type-bars just below the printing point. The shift mechanism, which elevates the carriage to two different heights, operates easily enough but is not accustomed to anything but slow to moderate operation. Unfortunately, there is no margin release key or lever, and the movable stops cannot be bypassed.|
|This machine was selling for $40.00 at a time when the vast majority of standard machines were selling in the $100.00 range, and it would appear that much of the money in this design is not in fancy appurtenances but rather in quality of construction. This machine is quite heavy for its size, and does not move around when operated at the maximum possible speed. The finish is high-quality, and all the devices that are fitted are well-designed and built. This rear picture illustrates the margin stops quite well; the two circular objects visible internal to the machine are the bell (left) and the mainspring drum (right.) The escapement is actually forward of this point, just underneath the ink roller assembly and printing point and is visible from the front of the machine. Our feeling is that the machine would have turned out quite decent work, but was quite limited in speed not only by design but by lack of such features as back-spacer and carriage release.|
|We were fortunate recently to be able to acquire an original magazine advertisement for the Sun No. 2. The ad appeared in the December 1905 issue of McClure's Magazine, and oddly enough is right beside an ad for the Smith Premier No. 2.|
|We present the ad somewhat larger than its original size, and also present the detail illustration of the machine cleaned up a bit and enlarged. Note that the paper inserted in the machine says very simply: "Visible Writing." Seeing that the ad (by sheer chance) appears next to an ad for an upstrike machine, this seems perfect in its brevity.
We also note what the ad says about the machine -- that it is the equal of any $100 machine. Of course, as we have seen above, the only way in which this could be true is in the quality of finished copy (which Carl Mares indicated at the time, in his book on the industry and its products, was absolutely beautiful.) That it was superior to any $100 machine -- well, that's harder to believe!
|Peter Weil sends us a scan of an envelope mailed from Chile in 1915; on the envelope are, in illustration, a Yost Visible with a very wide carriage and this unusual SUN variant. Sun expert Herman Price informs us that this machine is known as the SUN STANDARD, is one of the latest variants manufactured, and has no model number or name associated. According to Herman, either the machine illustrated here or the Sun Standard No. 6 seen earlier is the final design developed..|
|Peter also sends an ad, seen at left, for the Sun Standard No. 2 from 1904.|
|PAUL ROBERT was very fortunate recently (June 2007) to acquire this unusual SUN Standard variant. It is serial number 50440.
At once it's obvious that this is essentially the same machine as that seen in the Chilean illustration above, but with a few differences -- most importantly the fact that it is fitted with ribbon spools and the associated assemblies / drive, whereas the example in the illustration above has the old, or "original" dual-roller direct-inking system. Looking at the basic configuration of this machine compared to that in the Chilean illustration and also compared to the Sun Standard No. 2 it does appear as if this machine is a direct development of the No. 2. It does have some changes and improvements -- note the back-space key at lower right of the keyboard, and apparently improved margin stops. Our point here is that it is a direct descendant of the No. 2, whereas the No. 6 seen above is a wholly different machine.
|The overall appeal of this Sun machine is quite different visually; with the squared-off shape, side openings and ribbon spools on top this actually does look like a somewhat miniaturized standard typewriter -- which, of course, it actually IS.|