|RELIANCE VISIBLE / 2
Montgomery Ward was very careful to point out that the Reliance it was selling was, point for point, competitive with just about every other standard typewriter of the day. The term "standard" could easily have been confusing back then, just as it is now -- some machines with odd features or keyboard layouts advertised themselves very clearly as being "standard" machines. Montgomery Ward thus developed six design points that any machine had to have if it were to be referred to as a "standard" typewriter.
1.) Visible writing. 2.) Standard keyboard, consisting of four rows of keys with one shift. 3.) A fixed distance for the keys to travel; Ward's says that experts had determined the proper key travel to be 9/16 inch, and that this exact key travel was used on all other standard machines that had been used in winning speed and endurance contests 4.) Light shift key action 5.) Light-running carriage 6.) Rapid escapement.
Naturally, the Reliance fit all of these characteristics and was thus to be perceived as point-for-point competitive with any $97.50 to $100 dollar machine available.
|Of course, the Reliance had one design edge on the other machines on the market -- a quickly removable assembly of key levers and type basket, which the brochure refers to as the 'keyboard.'|
|Photo-montage showing removal of the keyboard from the frame; the key on top of the keyboard is the release. Frame and keyboard shown separated below. Note that entire carriage and ribbon assembly remains on frame, and that the two operator buttons for back space (left) and tabulator / margin release (right) are connected to linkages wholly contained in it as well.|
|The keyboard unit was available for $30.00 and could be had with Pica, Medium Roman, Elite or Small Italic type faces. Two regular foreign keyboards were also available -- one of which was suitable for French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, and the other for German, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish or Danish. Special keyboards for Greek, Russian, Bulgarian or Croatian were available on request. Note -- 'the arrangement of letters on these foreign keyboards is exactly the same as on the English.'|
|Other features of the machine, all of which were standard (note that only ONE model was offered and that it had no model number, at least in publicly distributed material): 44-key, 88-character keyboard. Back space key. Tabulator with six stops arranged at the convenience of the operator. Ball bearing carriage. Adjustable line-spacing (single, double, triple) and ratchet release. Adjustable paper fingers. Type-face protection (against type damage if double-struck or "piled up") afforded by lugs on type slugs. Automatic paper table operated paper release (pull paper table forward for release.) Two-color ribbon capabillity. Extra-wide paper capacity, taking sheets up to 10-1/8 inches in width with writing line of 9 inches. Manufactured of highest quality materials -- 'high grade steel used in the construction of all the important working parts.... workmanship and finish are the very best grade."|
|Not only did Montgomery Ward manufacture and sell the Reliance, it used it in large numbers in its own offices. At right is just one of several pictures showing a large number of Reliance machines in actual operation in the company's own offices, distribution centers and stores. The brochure points out that there were indeed other makes of typewriter in use in its own facilities, purchased prior to the adoption of the Reliance -- and that the Reliance was fully the equal of any of them in terms of speed, ease of operation and appearance of typed copy.
Having fully examined the machine's design points and advertising, next we'll investigate one of these machines today and give it a complete test -- compared with its contemporaries.