Miller Closes Out – Or Does It?

In December 1927, an interested party received a letter from the Miller Typewriter Sales Company of Wichita, Kansas, almost surely in answer to a request for information.  That letter was a flyer advertising the company’s offerings of rebuilt typewriters.  However, this flyer had been altered before being sent, as can be seen below.

Miller Typ Sales Co Letter Dec 1927

This now-fragile sheet advertised “Rebuilt Standard Visible Typewriters” and included the description “$10.00 to $30.00 Less.”  As we can see, a variety of models was offered.

What’s interesting is the typed additions at the top of the sheet.  These read as follows:

“Dear Sir:  We are closing out what we have left, all makes at $25.00 each.  These are real bargains.  Fine nickel plating and good enamel and all have two-color switch and backspacer, etc.  Also have one Rex Visible not shown on this sheet at only $10.00.  No Royals or L. C. Smiths left, or Olivers.  No more at these prices as soon as disposed of present supply.  Better get busy.”

Now, that message to to the prospective buyer makes it sound as if a fire sale were in progress – that is to say, a total closeout.  And that’s certainly the impression it was meant to convey.  “Better get busy” means that if you don’t act now, others will get these machines at these low prices (and twenty-five’s a pretty good price for a Monarch, Remington, Woodstock, Underwood or Corona machine in that year.)  But read it again and notice that nowhere does the company directly state that it’s going out of business, that this is the end, or that it’s all over.  It just says “no more at these prices.”

So what we have here in all probability is a sales tool – the creation of the impression of a coming shortage.  In this case, that’s shortage of supply of inexpensive rebuilt typewriters.  But nothing could have been further from the truth in that year, because the business overall was doing quite well nationwide.  More than likely Miller Typewriter Sales (which oddly has included an envelope addressed directly to most likely the owner / manager, C. W. Miller) was doing all right and was simply using a good sales tactic to motivate the buyer.  Because this was an extremely obscure company, we can’t say for sure, for now – but the tactic is clear as day on the second reading.

Miller Typ Sales Co Envelope

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