Typewriter Emporium was founded in 1892 by E. W. S. Shipman, who prior to that time had worked as a typewriter salesman. The catalog whose front cover you see here was published by his company immediately after the turn of the century. We can infer this because none of the ‘modern’ visible machines of any make appears in this catalog except the Underwood; to be clear, all the Remington, Smith Premier and other makes in the catalog are upstrike or “blind writer” machines while the Monarch and L. C. Smith machines do not appear at all. A date range of 1900 to 1904 or so thus seems sensible.
The company stated in the catalog that discounts from 45% to 75% off the original makers’ prices were available – this then means, more or less, that what had been $100 machines were being offered from $55 all the way down to $25.
What is interesting today is the huge variety of machines available through Typewriter Emporium as either “second hand” (which for this company, at this time, meant ‘thoroughly overhauled, inspected and tested’) or “slightly used” (as well as new, according to the piece.) Not only are common makes such as Remington, Smith Premier and Underwood included but also, as can be seen above, Yost and Jewett. In fact, the company’s catalog also featured Hammond, Oliver, Fay-Sho, Caligraph and Densmore machines. Machines available but for which prices were only quoted upon request appear in the interesting spread shown below from the catalog.
Starting at the top left and working our way around counter-clockwise (for those who can’t see the photo clearly enough) we see the following makes: Chicago, Crandall, Blickensderfer, National, Franklin, Williams, Daugherty, Hartford, Duplex, Wellington, Granville Automatic, New Century, Hammond Ideal Key-Board, and Bar-Lock.
How would one decide which to pick? The catalog gave some guidance:
“There are now so many makes of machines on the market that their prices and points of merit cover a wide range. In this catalogue you will find that we fully illustrate the machines best known to the public, and give their important features, together with the cardinal points of advantage claimed for each of them. With this information before you it is possible to reach your own conclusion as to which machine is best adapted to your special requirements. If you find yourself in doubt upon any point presenting itself, we are always ready to help you with our opinion.”
None of the makes shown on the two-page spread above is normally considered as having been rebuilt at a factory and resold, but we now can assure you that some of these were. What the catalog does is both offer an interesting look at the very early turn-of-the-century time in typewriters and push ever further the envelope of what machines could or should be considered as having been rebuilt when encountered by today’s enthusiasts.