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Saturday, 8 December 2012

On This Day in Typewriter History: Designs on Royal

It was relatively rare for the US Patent Office to receive patent applications specifically designated as being for typewriter designs - that is, for the so-called "ornamental" outer body casing or frame, technically the mask, of a typewriter. Only 15 such patents were issued between 1893 and 1951. Three of those were issued on the one day, on this day (December 8) in 1925. All had been applied for within the previous 10 weeks - a very quick turnaround. The three were all issued to the Royal Typewriter Company of New York.
Alan Seaver Collection at Machines of Loving Grace
Two of these designs will be readily recognisable by typewriter collectors. One is for the Royal 10 Standard, one of the great standard typewriters of history. This design was by Bernard Joseph Dowd.
Dowd was born on April 17, 1883, in Cavan, Ireland. He migrated to the US with his family in 1885. At 16 he was learning mechanical drawing and at 25 he was already a typewriter designer for Royal in Hartford, Connecticut. At 36 he was a factory superintendent. He died in Hartford in 1945, aged 62.

Hess                                                                            Myers
The other two designs are from Royal founders Edward Bernard Hess and Lewis Cary Myers, both for the then yet-to-be-launched Royal portable. Interestingly, Hess's design has a rounded section in front of the typebasket - the design which came to be was the one offered by Myers, with a straight front. 
It should also be noted that the final design for this model, with the ribbon spool covers, came from Dowd himself, in 1930.

1 comment:

Miguel Ángel Chávez Silva said...

Those designs are very pleasing to look at! I've always liked 1930s - 1940s industrial design, the transition from Art Deco to the strong, simmetrical lines of the '40s. I'm definitely adding a Royal portable of that vintage to my list. It looks fantastic in that two-tone paint scheme!