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The Conde Typewriter

The Shorthand Review (October 1892) modestly noted the founding of the Conde Typewriter Company in Chicago. The only known image of the machine (shown above) was offered in advertisements that same year.

The machine was invented by Samuel L. Conde, who developed a series of typewriter products in the 1880s, including a typewriter cabinet for which advertisements in journals and newspapers are frequent from 1892 through 1894.

Allan Seaver writes extensively about Samuel Conde in ETCetera here, speculating that only one model of the Conde was made and that no machines likely survived.

A short brief in The Wellsboro Gazette Combined with Mansfield Advertiser, January 25, 1893, offers this detail: “Rev. S. L. Conde, of Rockford, Ill., who is well known in this region, has invented a new and improved typewriter which his to be manufactured by a stock company in Chicago. It is said that the machine is the simplest one in the market.”

The Belvidere Standard, Dec. 27, 1893, offered this opinion of the machine (sight unseen), writing, “It is thought to be superior to anything on the market. There’s millions in it for Mr. Conde.”

The Conde ranks among machines known but “unfound.”


A rather extraordinary promise of 10 percent in the first year! —

Click image to view in Google Books.

Featured in several issues of The National Stenographer in 1893.

S.L. Conde typewriter announcementS.L. Conde typewriter announcement Wed, Jan 25, 1893 – Page 3 · The Wellsboro Gazette Combined with Mansfield Advertiser (Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

© 2019, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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What made it unique

Normally, a labeling variation is unimportant, but occasionally some unique lettering or emblem increases the collectibility of a machine. In my last post, I asked what made this particular Corona 3 (pictured above) unique, and Richard Polt nailed it: the word “Incorporated” is printed just below the company name. Later, “Inc.” would be printed after the name.

Significant? Not entirely, but this variant marks the precise moment a small, hopeful enterprise became the dominant manufacturer of portable typewriters. The Corona 3 was a massively successful machine for nearly three decades.

The more common label, with “Inc.” just after company name.

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© 2019, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.


What makes it unique?

Corona No. 3 Typewriter

The Corona No. 3, despite what you might see on Etsy and eBay, is not a rare machine. Certainly unique, this folding portable typewriter was an extraordinarily successful machine from the 1910s through the 1920s, and even into the 1930s. Hundreds of thousands of these were made over that period. Not rare, and certainly not worth $200 or $300 as advertised in many listings. That said, there are some unique variations, particularly in the first years of its run. Can you identify what makes this machine unique?

(If you can, please post answer in comments.)

P.S. I paid $90 for this machine. Just noting.

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© 2019, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.


Twain’s typewritten letter to autograph hunter

In his memoirs, Mark Twain described a letter he wrote to an autograph hunter, offering a summary of its content, but not the actual text. That letter, purportedly in its entirety, was printed earlier in The Critic (New York), February 8, 1890, and is offered here —

© 2019, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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Dear mother…

From The National Stenographer, June 1890 —

© 2019 – 2018, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.