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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Noiselessly Mesmerising: The Story of the Noiseless Typewriter - Part IV

The Weakest Link: 1921-24
The sudden death at age 65 of the Noiseless Typewriter Company's main financial backer, William Caryl Ely, in Buffalo on December 14, 1921, marked the beginning of the end for the company. Despite a heady advertising campaign through 1920-22, Noiseless became ripe for the picking in the absence of Ely's astute, long-standing leadership.

William Caryl Ely (1856-1921)
Ely's place as Noiseless president was taken by Canadian Charles William Colby (1867-1955), son of the company founder Charles Carroll Colby (1827-1907).
Three generations of Colbys, C.W. left and C.C. right.
C.W.Colby, right
The younger Colby rose to the position because he had inherited his father's stake in Noiseless. But, unlike his father and Ely, he was no businessman. Nor was he a robust man. In his youth Colby had contracted tuberculosis and was sent to Les Avants near Montreux in Switzerland to recuperate in the mountain air, staying there two years. After his return to Canada, he went on to become a noted historian and author. A history professor, he set up the McGill University history department in Montreal at the turn of the century, in association with Stephen Leacock and C.E. Fryer. He travelled extensively in the years 1920-28, and was unable to devote himself to running a typewriter company. While Colby was overseas, Noiseless ran the advertising line, "No stronger than the weakest link". The company's leadership had, sadly, become its own weakest link.
Tomorrow: The Transition to Remington

1 comment:

ZetiX said...

Fantastic collection of adverts!