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Monday 31 December 2012

Salute to the Corona 3 Portable Typewriter on its 100th Anniversary: Part IV

Great Little Typewriter
Reaches the Final Frontier,
Passes the Ultimate Test.
Adopted by
Spanish royalty,
American 'nobility'
and Arctic explorers
The launch of the 22-foot James Caird from Elephant Island. The boat that would carry Ernest Shackleton 800 miles on the open sea to South Georgia.
From Typewriter Topics, 1917
The Corona 3 folding portable typewriter left Hobart, Tasmania, on the SY Aurora on Christmas Eve 1914 and arrived in McMurdo Sound on January 15, 1915. It was the typewriter to be used by the Ross Sea Party of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914-17 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. 
Frank Hurley's photograph of the SY Aurora on the edge of the Shackleton ice shelf.
On May 7 Aurora, anchored at the party's Cape Evans headquarters, was wrenched from her moorings during a gale and prevented from returning by the drift of the ice which carried her far out to sea. She remained captive in the ice until February 12, 1916, having travelled a distance of around 1600 miles before escaping and limping to New Zealand. She carried with her the greater part of the shore party’s fuel, food rations, clothing and equipment - but not the Corona 3. The little typewriter remained in active service on Ross Island. On January 10, 1917, the repaired and refitted Aurora  returned. Shackleton accompanied the Aurora as a supernumerary officer, having been denied command by the governments of New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain, which had jointly organised the Ross Sea Party's relief.
Mackintosh before the mast of the Aurora
Aeneas Lionel Acton Mackintosh (born July 1, 1879, Tirhut, India; died aged 36, May 8, 1916, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica) was leader of the Ross Sea Party. He is commemorated with Mount Mackintosh, being regarded as one of the expedition's heroes.
Mackintosh's party at Ross Island
It would be almost 40 years before another portable typewriter was used at Cape Royds, which forms the west extremity of Ross Island, facing on McMurdo Sound. The machine which succeeded the Corona 3 in performing in such extremes was an Empire Aristocrat, used by journalist Geoffrey Lee-Martin, my erstwhile chief-of-staff on The New Zealand Herald in Auckland. This was in January 1956, when Lee-Martin was covering Sir Edmund Hillary's Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
From Typewriter Topics, 1917
The brilliantly talented Fay King, a Colorado columnist, cartoonist and actress
From Typewriter Topics, 1917
Prince Alfonso is seen here with his father, King Alfonso XIII, in 1915, two years before the king would give the 10-year-old crown prince a Corona 3 typewriter
Alfonso, Prince of Asturias (Alfonso Pío Cristino Eduardo Francisco Guillermo Carlos Enrique Eugenio Fernando Antonio Venancio Borbón y Battenberg) was born in Madrid on May 10, 1907, and died in Miami, Florida, on September 6, 1938. He was an Infante of Spain and the heir-apparent of the throne of Spain from 1907 to 1931. He was the eldest child of the then-reigning king Alfonso XIII of Spain and his wife Victoria Eugenie. He was the 1120th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain and Knight with Collar of the Order of Charles III. Alfonso renounced his rights to the then-defunct throne to marry a commoner, Edelmira Ignacia Adriana Sampedro-Robato, in Ouchy on June 21, 1933, after which Alfonso took the courtesy title Count of Covadonga. He then married Marta Esther Rocafort-Altuzarra in Havana on July 3, 1937. They divorced on January 8, 1938. He died in a car crash and in 1985 was re-entombed in the Pantheon of the Princes in El Escorial.
From Typewriter Topics, 1917
Corona availed of every opportunity to emphasise the folding portable typewriter's groundbreaking suitability for what the Germans call a Reisen Schreibmaschine, a travelling typewriter. We saw in an earlier post Otto Petermann's foldable tripod, particularly favoured by war correspondents when using the Corona 3 in the field. One more handy device came from another Corona mechanical engineer, Charles Henry Bradt (born East Saginaw, Michigan, December 4, 1878; died aged 77, Groton, May 18, 1956). Bradt went further, designing these lap braces for the Corona 3
The idea is not as silly as it may look. As someone who constantly travelled the world lugging a typewriter in the 1960s and 70s, I would have found it very useful indeed. Correspondents in the Second World War, who often had to use a typewriter while it was perched on their lap, would no doubt have agreed. Typing with a machine on one's knees it not all that easy.

From Typewriter Topics, 1917
Cornelius Vanderbilt IV (born Staten Island, April 30, 1898) served in the Ambulance Service during the First World War. He became a driver when a general asked the enlisted men if any of them could drive a Rolls-Royce. Vanderbilt worked as a staff member of the New York Herald and later The New York Times and in the early 1920s launched several newspapers and tabloids - the Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News, the San Francisco Illustrated Daily Herald and the Miami Tab among them. They didn't last long and cost Vanderbilt nearly $6 million. Vanderbilt subsequently went to work as an assistant managing editor of the New York Daily Mirror. He was to marry seven times. He died on July 7, 1974, on Staten Island.
From Typewriter Topics, 1917
Carleton French Brown (the spelling of his first name is correct here) as seen in the 1953 Smith-Corona News, an issue celebrating "50 Years of Typewriter Manufacture" - starting with L.C.Smith on January 27, 1903.
In yesterday's post we mentioned Corona expanding its factory and building 100 new homes in Groton to accommodate a rapidly growing workforce - needed because of massive increases in production to meet international demand. It wasn't enough. The company needed to buy four trucks to transport staff as well.
From Typewriter Topics, 1917
Corona vice-president and major backer Jacob Sloat Fassett (born November 13, 1853, Elmira, New York; died aged 70, April 21, 1924 Vancouver, British Columbia) was a businessman, lawyer and member of the United States House of Representatives from New York. He died while returning from a business trip to Japan and the Philippines. He was an investor in various mines, among which was the Oriental Consolidated Mining Corporation in Korea. 
                      SO SOUGHT-AFTER THEY WERE
                       THE TARGET OF THIEVES -
From Typewriter Topics, 1917


Richard P said...

Fascinating stuff. I think my favorite is the Fay King cartoon!

shordzi said...

A pair of lap braces would still fit in the collection. Happy New Year to down under!