This is the earliest known Remington Portable, dating to December 1920, the first year of production for this typewriter. Advertisements for the Remington Portable first appeared in January 1921, with sales slowly increasing as the year progressed.
I’ve only seen two other specimens dating to 1920, including one in Thomas Russo’s collection (NA000261), which is featured on p. 52 of his book, Mechanical Typewriters (2002). His machine has platen prongs which were used to hold small labels in place (thus making it the earliest Remington to display this feature). The other sighted machine (NA00346) appeared on eBay some months ago. Interestingly, the Remington logo on that machine is scratched out, as is the logo on mine, as if to unmark these machines for sale. Russo’s machine is pristine.
It’s noteworthy that the serial numbers on these machines are clustered sequentially. Though the prefix “NA” designates a December production date, one wonders if in the first year the “NA” prefix designates any machine from that year. The Remington Portable first appeared in Typewriter Topics in 1920, displaying a letter showing a date of August 1920, around when tooling for the Remington Portable was completed. Remington must have spent some period of time amassing a supply of these machines. It is possible, however, that production only began in December.
Image and detail from Typewriter Topics, 1920:
As seen at TypewriterDatabase.com.
© 2016, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.
A historic machine. That’s very odd about the scratched-out logo.
That’s neat to see! That is probably the advert and machine that created the Corona Four. Probably gave them a bit of a jump in the Corona offices, that machine, it should have anyways 🙂
Was the type number done after painting? Could be that the deliveries started in December, all machines stamped then. (These could then be the very first batch.)
The scratched logo indeed is odd – did that have significance for the company? Maybe thinking it should’ve had a Portable in the seal?
Still impresses with its compact design, basically cramming a Remington Standard 10 into a small drawer!
NA0* and NP1* machines were stamped after being painted. On subsequent machines the area around the serial number is unpainted. Some time later, Remington shifted the serial number from the internal structure of the typewriter to its base, the serial number being stamped afterwards.
Yes, it is possible that these were manufactured in batches and stamped afterwards.
Nice.. As you say, the machines could have been made from Aug to Dec 1920 to “stock up for Christmas release”, and all that backlog been given serial numbers in December. Yet another interesting indication that serial numbers aren’t always particularly indicative of manufacture date as much as they are of distribution date. Perhaps at least early machines may have been serial numbered as they entered the distribution channel.
I like the keytops. Is that random discoloration? Looks good to me though.
Very interesting, thank you.
Do you know why some of the keys have gone a rusty colour?
My best guess is that the discoloration is caused by light (sunlight?) damage. It’s pretty common on early Remington portables.