A Chance to Sell

All of the big typewriter makers limited their dealerships (or “franchises,” or “agencies” or whatever term you’d like) so that no two could be close enough to each other so as to cannibalize business.  This meant that once a general area was built up it was hard, after a time, to secure an agency for a reputable make.  How could you get into selling machines yourself, then?  There was a way, and Augustus Perow did it as did many, many others.

Perow Blotter

Although this ink blotter displays an L. C. Smith No. 2 machine, it’s just an image of a typewriter to get your attention; it’s clear that Perow sold “all makes of typewriters,” and from the “Wholesale and Retail” tag line you can be sure he was selling rebuilt machines – and very likely, obtaining them from a large rebuilding firm.

Direct sale of rebuilt machines had the advantage of price as can be seen here, with machines 40% to 75% the original cost (thus, roughly $60 all the way down to $25 on what would originally have been $100 machines when new.)  The opportunity for a thrifty office manager to get machines two, three or four-for-one is an attention-getter.  Although the machines would not be the latest models or styles at the lowest prices, all would have likely had at least some sort of warranty as well.

In this case Perow made out as well as his customers.  Perow, who we know to have been in business in roughly the 1912-1915 time frame, would have bought these machines at a dealer-wholesale price, deriving at least a modest profit on their sale.  Also, the sale of rebuilts gave him the opportunity to offer warrantied machines in numbers in the face of big competition.  It’s no wonder that many dealers got onto the rebuilt concept given the benefits to themselves and the advantages for the customers.

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