Three weeks after the first Underwood portable typewriter went on the market in Canada, in late August 1921, Underwood was gifted the greatest free advertisement it could possibly have wished for. A Calgary Daily Herald journalist called Chester Abbott Bloom (1882-1967) had acquired one for $75 as soon as the three-bank Underwoods were offered for sale in Calgary. Bloom believed its super compact size and extreme light 7½lb weight would be ideal for a daunting assignment he was about to undertake – mostly by air, but also steamboat and canoe. Bloom was taken by the Imperial Oil Company on a 3000 miles round trip into oilfields of the subarctic wilderness in the Sahtu Lands along the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories. Imperial was setting up oil wells below Fort Norman (between the settlements now known as Tulita and Norman Wells).
With excellent coordination, the Calgary Daily Herald ran an advertisement for the Underwood portable, inserted by manager Arthur M. Schofield of the United Typewriter Company on Seventh Avenue West, Calgary, on the same page as its article about Bloom’s typewriter being returned to him.
Chester Bloom was born in Edina, Missouri, on November 6, 1882. He began his journalism career on newspapers in Springfield, Illinois, Chicago and Seattle and attended the University of Washington in Seattle. From 1910-11 he worked on steamboats in Alaska, as well as gold mining and prospecting. He moved to Calgary as a city editor in 1912 and became legislative correspondent for the Herald in 1918. In 1928 he was appointed news editor of the Regina Leader-Post, and transferred to Washington DC as correspondent for the Winnipeg Free Press in 1933. He moved to Ottawa in 1936, New York in 1939, then back to Washington in 1940 when the US joined World War II. After the war he returned to Ottawa. He died there on October 8, 1967, at the age of 84, and was buried in Manitoba.