In a comment on my post about the Underwood Master Model, Donald Lampert asked if I knew who designed it. At the time I didn't and, with apologies to Donald, I should have checked that out before posting. But I would have guessed Willie Dobson, and as it turns out I would have guessed right.
William Albert Dobson was born in Tolland, Connecticut, in November 1870. He started working in Hartford as a toolmaker, then as an automobile engineer. Dobson went to work for Underwood as a toolmaker after World War I and rose through the ranks to become Underwood's factory superintendent in the late 1920s. In his later days he remained with the company as a typewriter engineer. He died in 1958 and is buried at the Walnut Grove Cemetery Meriden, New Haven, Connecticut.
Dobson's April 1937 mask design. The Master Model did not appear until 1939.
Dobson continued to work on the Master in January 1938 (above and below).
But the basic inner frame for the Underwood standard, used on the Master, was designed in March 1919 by another great Underwood design engineer, Prussian-born William Ferdinand Helmond (August 1871-).
From November 1929 to the end of 1934, Underwood Noiseless standards were made by Remington, but in May 1933 Helmond began to design Underwood's own Noiseless model, which was made until 1946 (the Noiseless portable came from George Gould Going at Remington).
A Remington-made Underwood Noiseless: Image from myTypewriter.com
The mechanics of the Underwood-made Noiseless were designed by Dobson in December 1934, just before production at Hartford, Connecticut, began:
Dobson is possibly best known (at least by me) as the designer of the Underwood Universal-Champion portable, starting in March 1936, but this model was just one of many typewriters he designed for Underwood. Others include the gorgeous version of the earlier four-bank portable, with the indented front sections (March 1931). Bear in mind that Dobson did not just design masks for Underwood, but all the mechanics as well
Image from myTypewriter.com
"Jake" Neahr (centre)Getting off the subject of typewriters themselves, I just love this stand designed in 1921 by Jacob Eugene Neahr (1862-1935), Underwood's long-serving general sales manager, for the Underwood 3 portable. Has anyone ever seen one?