Variation on a theme
“Monarch Noiseless 61” is an uncommon name variant of the Remington Noiseless 6, which was likely marketed by the American Writing Machine Company, an organization that sold a variety of Remington products under the Monarch label in the 1930s. Apart from the machine featured in this post, only scant evidence for the Monarch Noiseless 61 exists.
In foreign markets, Remington sold the Noiseless 6 as the Smith Premier Noiseless 61, with both German (QWERTZ) and French (AZERTY) keyboards. Why Remington chose “61” instead of “6” is a mystery, but “61” appears on all extant variants of the Noiseless 6.
The old is king
Both “Monarch” and “American Writing Machine” are recycled names from past enterprises. Monarch was originally a satellite of the Union Typewriter Company (UTC), a trust established in the late 1800s, consolidating large parts of the typewriter industry. Executives at Remington generally controlled UTC.
The American Writing Machine Company was an independent company that manufactured the Caligraph. In 1893, it was one of several companies that formed the UTC, but, over time, Remington subsumed all of the trust’s assets and marks.
As near as I can tell, little has been written about the revitalized Monarch label or the reconstituted American Writing Machine Company, which continued as dealerships throughout the nation. How independently these stores functioned is uncertain: they appear to have sold principally Remington products or former trust brands.
Both Monarch and the American Writing Machine Company played important roles in Remington’s marketing efforts, especially during the Great Depression.
Only with difficulty was I able to locate possible mentions of the Monarch Noiseless 61 in advertisements for the American Writing Machine Company, adverts that reference both standard and portable typewriters, though only portable machines are depicted.
The serial number on my Noiseless 61 is X207186, following the convention for the Noiseless 6 and dating it to 1931. Unlike the Smith Premier models, the Noiseless 61 displays a QWERTY keyboard. It was sold, most likely, in the United States exclusively, as Remington generally held Smith Premier for foreign markets.
Typewriters to war!
While collectors may be unaware of standard Monarch noiseless typewriters, the U.S. government was not. During World War II, the army and navy sought donations of typewriters, specifying acceptable models — all standard machines, not portables. Included were the Monarch Noiseless No. 6 (the 61?) and the Monarch Noiseless No. 10.
I was struck by the Noiseless 61’s extraordinary beauty when I noticed it on ShopGoodwill.com some weeks ago. It’s absolutely gorgeous! But, hold your breath, it’s miserable to type on. Not that the Noiseless 61 is defective in any way… well, actually, it is… it doesn’t make any damn noise! Were I to attempt to write on this machine, I’d probably wreck it, pounding hard on its keys. I need the clickety-clack of a traditional typewriter!
The noiselessness of the noiseless annoyed many typists, including one columnist in 1929 who described the Noiseless 6 as “something sinister” —
There’s something mysterious about writing on a machine that doesn’t do the usual roaring and rattling and shaking about. Our old Underwood, in the sacred confines of our palatial office, gives a very good performance of a Chevrolet, starting on a cold morning to climb the Derry street hill, but this Remington Noiseless 6! We can’t get used to it; here we sit, banging away with a vigorous two digits in the hit and run system of typing we have always favored, and no sound other than a subdued click comes out of the machine. It’s not quite right; it smacks of something unholy, of something sinister. It’s like drinking your coffee out of the saucer without making a sound.
You can read the full column, which begins with a reference to a noise abatement effort, here:
For those of you who are wondering, though I won’t type on it, I have set it on display with my collection of Monarch visible typewriters. My 61 might not make a sound, but it will be seen.
As seen at TypewriterDatabase.com.
See the Noiseless 6 in action here.
Smith Premier variants
© 2016, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.
Stunning! It looks nearly new.
If possible, a video would be awesome. I’ve never heard a noiseless in action
Now this has me thinking there ought to be an “American Writing Machine (Monarch)” category under which we would file these rebirthed Monarchs. I’ve got one of their portables that I’ve been clueless about where to really file it or what to call it. Might have to come up with “collector designations” for the models, since they didn’t really distinguish the portable models at least with a proper model name. What think ye? (:
The scheme I’m beginning to use for my own collection has four principal data points:
2. Model (manufacturer)
3. Brand, including “additional” branding
4. Model (brand)
So my Remington 666 machine would be:
3. Remington-Rand (Sperry-Rand)
Listed as “Remington 666 (Brother – JP-1)”
2. Noiseless 6
3. Noiseless 61
Problematically, I don’t know for certain that “Monarch,” in this instance is a brand. The model could simply be “Monarch Noiseless 61”.
For your Monarch portable, I propose this:
2. Remie Scout Model.
4. (same as brand)
Perhaps I would display it this way: “Monarch (Remington – Remie Scout Model.)”
Further complicating matters, though, your Monarch could have been the brand of the American Writing Machine Co. or the Monarch Typewriter Co. The former was a chain of dealerships, the latter, perhaps a marketing arm of Remington (not even an actual company, possibly). And then, finally, these Monarchs were sometimes advertised as a “Remington – Monarch,” as if having two product designations!
All that said, the key data points remain: manufacturer, manufacturer model, brand, and brand model.
hmmn, ok, well lacking the ability to easily modify the existing data structure to distinguish manufacturer from brand, I guess we make logical compromises. It’s nice to know something about the 1930’s “Monarch” brand now. (:
Nice post & photos, thank you!
Nice photo’s, grand machine.
Am now curious for the noise (or lack thereof) of a standard Noiseless – my Noiseless Portable of the thirties is still (for me) a bit too noticeable for living-room-use. Not quite the troubled ’29 Chevrolet, but not to be ignored either 😉
My standard machine is surprisingly quiet. One thing to consider is the hardness of the platen. On aged machines, the platens are sometimes very hard, creating a very different sound than when the machine was new.