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The Era Typewriter (aka Bennington & Xcel)

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The Era typed letters and entire words such as “the,” “and,” and “but” — but whether presets for common, two- and three-letter words was ever necessary is doubtful. Nonetheless, the idea attracted much attention.

Wesley H. Bennington filed a patent for his machine in 1901 (U.S. 762,272), but the application does not mention typing whole words. Eventually, working models would be named Bennington and Xcel (as seen at TypewriterDatabase.com). The Bennington never successfully launched, and advertisements emphasize stock offerings, not the actual machine.

The evolution of this typewriter — from Era to Bennington to Xcel — was chronicled in a variety of press reports:

Geyer’s Stationer (New York), May 1, 1902 —

A further report in Geyer’s (June 5, 1902) describes a machine with 30 preset keys:

The New Era Typewriter Company, however, seemed not to have any place to manufacture its machine, and it was actively searching for a home.

Mon, Jun 2, 1902 – 4 · Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Ultimately, the Bennington found a home in Kansas and stock was offered.

The Educator Journal, 1902 —

Modern Medical Science, 1903 —


Striving to excel…

Long in development, the Bennington evolved into the Xcel. Only it did not excel, but floundered, never finding a market. Typewriter Topics offered an extensive write-up in 1922 — click here.

Both Robert Messenger (here) and Ted Munk (here) have written about the Bennington/Xcel.

© 2019, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • T. Munk June 10, 2019, 2:21 am

    It’s a fascinating story. Someone finding one of the potentially 3 prototypes would be very lucky indeed. 😀

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