The incredible illustration above, showing a receiving room stacked from floor to nearly the ceiling with crated typewriters, comes to us from a trade catalog issued by the Smith Typewriter Sales Co. in 1924.
It’s quickly obvious that every case contains an L. C. Smith & Bros. machine – the company had in recent times converted to handling only this make, after its original founder, Harry A. Smith, returned and took back control of the company. In fact, Smith himself had (after a failed venture to construct brand new machines) first become an employee of L. C. Smith & Bros. directly in exchanged machines before re-acquiring control of his old firm. This company had originally been the Harry A. Smith Typewriter Company, but that name was shifted to the “new typewriter” venture when that started; the rebuilt venture became “Smith Typewriter Sales.”
The building seen above — now, long gone — housed the final location for the company, which moved a number of times after its founding in 1911. This building was at 360 East Grand Avenue, Chicago. Descriptions of the facility lead to the conclusion that the typewriter company did not occupy all of this building.
Getting back to bringing in the machines, it should be noted that the trade catalog stated that the company bought “in large quantities, having bought as many as 4000 typewriters at one time.” In previous years, before becoming associated with the Smith Bros.’ company (there was no relation between the Smith Brothers and Harry A. Smith, it must be said) Harry A. Smith advertised that he would buy machines “in lots from ten to one hundred,” and he seems to have acquired all manner of machines from all manner of sources. No matter what the arrangement, the single time purchase of four thousand machines just helps to show the volume that was available in dealing in rebuilt typewriters.