When a rebuilder of typewriters received and categorized machines to be rebuilt, the first serious step in the remanufacturing process was disassembly. Here, we see the disassembly department of the Shipman-Ward Manufacturing Company in 1924. E. W. S. Shipman, founder of the company (originally “Typewriter Emporium,” founded in 1892) is standing beside one of his technicians performing the disassembly of an Underwood standard machine. By this date, Shipman-Ward was handling the Underwood exclusively.
In large factory settings such as this firm’s, the disassembly was performed by a bank of dedicated persons; the parts and the frames were then passed on to different divisions for special work. Badly worn parts were immediately discarded. This differed considerably from the method used in the early years of factory rebuilding in which one technician handled each machine from start to finish. The general factory method was almost wholly adopted prior to the outbreak of the First World War; only local dealers who rebuilt machines had a technician handle each machine all the way through – a practice of course that holds today as the factory rebuilding of typewriters is long gone.
Below, an example from a 1924 Shipman-Ward catalog showing a finished rebuilt Underwood No. 4. The only way to tell this machine from a factory Underwood is the insert in the right-hand shift key.