Bargain Basement

Catalog unk early 1920s

The small catalog page reproduced above has no named source and no date, although we can guess the date at the early to mid-1920’s simply because of the appearance of the four bank Remington portable.  What is incredible are the prices being offered.

At this time the price of a brand new standard typewriter was generally in the $105-$120 bracket for the basic but full-featured models.  This ad presented some incredibly inexpensive machines – but look closely and you might see why.  Offered at just $15 was the completely obsolete Smith Premier No. 2, which entered production in 1896 and which had been out of production since 1914.  Another bargain was the No. 3 Oliver at just $17 – but again, this machine had been out of production for years (since 1907.)  The No. 9 Oliver was still in new OEM production and was offered at $26.

Already mentioned, but worth specifically pointing out is the fact that Remington portables were being factory rebuilt (as were Corona 3 portables, also shown on this catalog page.)  Most collectors will think “standard typewriter” when the factory rebuilding business comes up, but portables of popular makes, which could be had in large enough batches, were factory rebuilt and sold as well.  Certainly, this kind of ad broadens our perception today so long after the fact about what was being offered and when — and how long some machines remained in the ‘business cycle’ to be rebuilt and sold at bargain basement prices.

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