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Brother’s signature typewriter

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Montgomery Ward Signature 100 Typewriter from 1963

The first Brothers

Brother began manufacturing typewriters in 1961,1 and the first machines hit the North American market late that year. My (Brother) Bradford dates to 1961,2 and Ryan Adney lists a 1962 Brother Valiant at the typewriter database.3

Initially, Wards sold the Valiant.4 In August of 1963, the retailer introduced its own line of Brothers under the Signature label. The 100 is a basic model, lacking ribbon selector, tabulator and touch control. It sold for around $36 and was offered in charcoal brown with a matte finish. It included an “attaché” carrying case. The 200 and 300 models offered a fuller set of features.

Montgomery Ward apparently wanted a distinct line of machines, so Signature portables are generally unique, differing in design from other Brothers in a number of ways, typically in the design of the frames.5 That said, the Japanese manufacturer also sold a Brother 100 (sometimes identified as the JP1-1416), like the Signature 100, in the early 1960s. (See Robert Messenger’s post on Brother.)

The 100 was sold from 1963 to 1969. Sometime around 1964, it was offered with a gloss coat finish. Subsequently, it was offered with a different leather(?) carrying case and then a snap case. According to ads, the snap case was introduced in 1966, but I’ve seen machines dating to 1965 with it.

Note: The Signature 100 did not come with an optional Morse code keyboard. Whoever owned this one originally drew the dots in dashes on it.

Photos

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Brother Signature 100 gloss paint

Signature with glossy finish.

Typing samples

From my Signature 100 Typewriter

And for the typewriter database:
Typing sample TWDB

Manual

Machines of Loving Graces offers a manual here (PDF format).

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The Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield, California) Sept. 13, 1962

Before launching the Signature line of typewriters, Wards sold the Brother Valiant. From the Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield, California) Sept. 13, 1962.

The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri), Aug 14, 1963

From The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri), Aug 14, 1963.

The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri) Aug 21, 1963

From The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri) Aug 21, 1963.

The Southeast Missourian, Aug. 22, 1963

From The Southeast Missourian, Aug. 22, 1963.

Daily Independent Journal (San Rafael, California), Sep 2, 1964

From the Daily Independent Journal (San Rafael, California), Sep 2, 1964.

The Kansas City Times (Kansas City, Missouri), Dec 11, 1964

A gloss coat finish? From The Kansas City Times (Kansas City, Missouri), Dec 11, 1964.

The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri), Aug 31, 1966

With snap-on case. From The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri), Aug 31, 1966.

News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio), Apr 16, 1967

From the News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio), Apr 16, 1967.

The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia), Aug 27, 1969

The last year the Signature 100 appears to have been sold is 1969. From The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia), Aug 27, 1969.

Additional reading

And, curious about machines being rebranded? Read this page at Machines of Loving Grace.

Listed at TWDB

As seen at TypewriterDatabase.com.

© 2014, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

  1. Brother Portable Typewriters, by Will Davis. []
  2. Serial number P149534. Bradfords were sold at Grants department stores. See Brother Bradford. []
  3. See listing here. The Brother Valiant was sold at Gambles — see here and here. Brother previously sold sewing machines under the Brother Valiant label; see example here. []
  4. See post on the Valiant here. []
  5. Personally, I think Montgomery Ward’s designs are clunky. []
  6. See here. []
{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Bill M September 1, 2014, 12:18 pm

    Very nice looking Signature. I love the Morse Code on the keys. Whoever did that did a fine job. Unless I look really close at a few keys the code looks like it came from the factory. A real challenge would be to add the numbers and punctuation (in very tiny dots and dashes).

    • Mark Adams September 1, 2014, 2:29 pm

      That’s what I noticed when I first bid on the item. Except for the previous owner’s dedication, the dots and dashes would have diminished the value of the typewriter. I’m rather taken by the effort… perhaps I will try to learn morse code (is there a morse-code-o-sphere?).

  • T. Munk September 1, 2014, 4:54 pm

    Interesting. I wonder if the owner used it to transcribe Morse as a beginner HAM operator. I occasionally pick up Morse transmissions on my shortwave, so grab a receiver and listen in with your fingers on the keys – get some practice in (:

    PS, it looks like that Sep 2, 1964 ad shows a Royal Safari as the Signature 500. I’ve seen one of those while thrifting before, but it was pretty rough, not worth picking up.

  • Bryan September 2, 2014, 11:03 am

    What a fine looking Brother! And I love that it has the morse code marks on it!

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