Typewriters may be instruments from ancient times, but collectors still take pleasure in amassing them. The Smith-Corona is one of the most popular brands of vintage typewriters.
Whether you are looking for something to add to your collection or enjoy the sound of a bell after every line of type, you will surely love the Smith corona vintage typewriter.
The Smith Corona Typewriter Company was created in 1926 after the official merger of two distinct businesses.
In this article, we’ll go deeper into the fascinating background of the Smith-Corona typewriter. Additionally, we will outline the various Smith-Corona typewriter models and what to expect in terms of pricing.
History of the Smith Corona Typewriters
Smith Corona has a lengthy track record of creativity and progressive thinking. For over 100+ years, they have kept innovating—from becoming the first dual-case electronic typewriters manufacturer to premium thermal transfer and direct thermal labels.
The L.C. Smith and Brothers Corporation
Smith Corona is well-known for portable and lightweight electric typewriters, personal word processors, electronic reference products, and accessories.
Smith Corona began as the Smith Premier Typewriter Company in 1886. Lyman, Monroe, Hurlburt, and Wilbert Smith, four brothers who were previously gun manufacturers, founded the company.
A designer and inventor named Alexander Brown became captivated by the new writing machine when it was first presented ten years earlier at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition.
Brown examined the device and concluded that he could construct a superior one independently. He was less concerned with portability and more concerned with creating a sturdy, stylish, and functional office writing machine. So he approached the smith brothers with his new idea.
In 1890 Smith brothers created their first typewriter following Brown’s design. It was also a “blind ” typewriter, just like the ones in the typewriter market at the time. The smith premier 1 recorded a huge market success, only second to Remington.
An industry standard among typewriter keyboards finally materialized in 1895; the QWERTY layout. The following year, the first “visible” typewriter was introduced, allowing the typist to see what he typed without lifting the carriage.
While the Smith brothers quickly recognized the new machine’s prospects, their counterparts did not. The disagreement prompted the Smith brothers to resign and start a new company, the L.C. Smith and Brothers Typewriter Company of Syracuse, on January 27, 1903, to manufacture “visible” typewriters.
In 1907 the L.C. Smith & Bros corporation produced its first typewriter and the new model No. 2.
Standard Typewriter Company
In 1907, the Standard Typewriter Company, which would later change its name to Corona Typewriter Company, began producing a folding typewriter. In addition, the corona typewriter company wanted to make typewriters more portable.
The Standard Typewriter Company changed its name to the Corona Typewriter Company in response to the popularity of its Corona typewriter model. The business continuously enhanced its portable typewriters until its merger with L.C. Smith & Bros Corporation.
Corona typewriters enjoyed prosperity and reputation without significantly altering their design. Despite the significant technological advances between the two World Wars, the Corona portable typewriter design remained the norm.
Corona gained some notoriety during the peacetime era when Firpo knocked Dempsey through the ropes and onto a portable Corona typewriter during the Dempsey-Firpo fight in 1924. However, Dempsey could carry on the fight after returning to the ring.
Interestingly, the Corona on which the heavyweight had landed was still in proper working condition. Because of that, the public believed that Corona typewriters were very strong.
Smith Corona Company
The typewriter business saw significant developments in the 1920s. In 1923, there were more than 200 different types of typewriters available on the market, the majority of which were American.
By 1929, the industry had significantly consolidated, with just five different types of typewriters produced in the country.
The L.C. Smith & Corona Typewriter Company was merged in January 1926, making one of the most significant mergers of the time, which saw Corona unite with L.C. Smith and Brothers and give the new company the second half of the most recognizable typewriter brand.
By 1942, the American government instructed major manufacturers to stop producing typewriters during World War II as the nation’s manufacturing sector changed its focus to support the war effort.
As a result, the factories of Smith and Corona manufactured percussion primers for explosives and firearms. The government’s need for old typewriters kept the company’s sales team busy.
But by 1943, the military needed something other than rifles, and they were once more in need of writing devices. Thankfully, Smith and Corona had saved the necessary production facilities and were back producing typewriters.
Smith and Corona became known as Smith-Corona in 1946, and in 1953 renamed Smith-Corona Inc. After World War II, the company worked to meet the difficulties posed by the newest technology, the electric typewriter, which began to take over the market in 1948.
In 1955, Smith Corona introduced an electric typewriter for the office and business people. The result of a decade of research, the new machine featured a scientifically sloped keyboard fitted to natural finger movements, more controls in the area than any other typewriter, and automatic repeat actions on all keys.
Continuing to branch out into other areas, Smith-Corona merged with Marchant Calculators in September 1958; the resulting company, Smith-Corona Marchant Inc., became world-renowned as a substantial and diversified business corporation.
Smith-Corona Marchant boosted sales domestically and internationally during the 1960s by contending in the typewriter markets.
The Smith Corona electric typewriter from the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s had more compact designs, a smaller footprint, and keys that were easier to push than those of their early pioneers.
Following the limitless innovation of the Smith-Corona, they produced the coronamatic cartridge in 1973.
This innovation made changing ribbons very simple. It enabled users to change the ribbon without ever touching the new ribbon.
The new technology made using typewriters less untidy by assisting users in avoiding touching the ribbons that came with ink.
Between 1980 and 2000, the company that once said, “the pen is mightier than the sword, but the smith-premier typewriter bends them both” saw the personal Computer defeating all three (typewriter, pen, and sword).
As a result, the company had difficulty adjusting to the changes brought by the PC revolution.
The corporation made several steps to face the challenges of the new era under rising pressure from recent advances and shifting economic conditions.
Smith Corona decided to unveil several word processors in an effort to lure customers with their ease of use and inexpensive cost.
But few people had predicted how quickly PC quality would improve and costs would decrease, thereby impairing the typewriter market.
Today, the company has transferred its printing knowledge and innovation into the production of thermal labels.
Notable Models of Smith Corona Typewriters
Smiths produced various typewriters at the time, from portable, electric to manual typewriters. Here, we will discuss a few of the iconic models.
Smith Premier Models
The lovely relief of flowers and cattails placed on the flanks of the Smith Premier 1 made it stand out from the crowd. The interior of the typewriter was equally remarkable.
Alexander Brown built this vintage typewriter with rods and cranks that were incredibly simple to adjust for optimal control, replacing the levers used on prior typewriters.
In 1895, a second Smith Premier model debuted. The Smith Premier 1 had elaborately ornamented sides, but this model did not.
The Smith Premier no, 3 manufactured in 1901, featured 84 keys, while the Smith Premier 1 and 2 older variants each had 76.
They produced the machines in a total of 13 different languages, with several versions having unique QWERTY layouts and characters.
The machines had a round brush located just below the type basket, one of its unique features. This brush allowed users to clean types of lint and clogged ink.
They were all “blind” typewriters; one had to lift the carriage to see the paper when typing.
These models can get you up to hundreds of dollars even when not in a nice condition. For example, an untested 1889 smith premier model 1 on eBay is up for sale at $890.
The Corona Models
The typewriter, first produced by the Corona Typewriter Company in the 1910s, was widely used until about 1941. This particular typewriter’s carriage and platen could fold down and rest on the keyboard, which increased its portability.
The Corona typewriter was lighter than the Smith Premier; later, L.C. Smith Bros Models improved its portability even more. It was a manual typewriter like those produced at the time.
In 1914, the Smith company saw tremendous popularity. However, the Corona Type 3 remained one of the most popular models after Corona Typewriter Company and L.C. Smith and Bros Corporation merged.
It is one of history’s highly well-liked writing machines, with over 700,000 produced between 1912 and 1940. Many rivals reportedly copied the design, leading to several protracted litigations. Corona started giving $50 returns on the no. 3 when they introduced the no. 4 in 1924 and created other specials available in different colors.
The value of the Corona No. 3 models sits between $135 and $550 online, depending on the year of production and its condition. You can also purchase the owners’ manual online.
The Junior is a cheap portable typewriter produced during the Great Depression between 1934 and 1940. Although it had the same housing as the Corona #4 Improved, it was deficient in several Corona #4 features.
The left-hand platen knob, carriage lever, ribbon switch, paper layout slider, font scale, backspace, and margin release are all absent. However, the centering device is present and manually activated.
The price range for this vintage typewriter is between $120 and $400, according to online prices. It may also cost higher if it is in good form, with its carrying case and shipping fee added.
Smith Corona PWP 1400 Model
As already said, Smith-Corona was a leader in word processing. In addition, the electric typewriter PWP 1400 model from the manufacturer was capable of word processing. This model was first produced in the 1980s and competed with other typewriter manufacturers.
A spell-correct dictionary, word eraser, built-in power cord storage, a built-in LCD, a carrying handle, and Auto Spell were some features offered by the PWP 1400.
In a functional condition, this model is available online for $100 and above.
Smith Corona Classic 12
During the 1960s, Smith Corona Marchant produced the Corona Classic 12 typewriter. The machine also came with a carrying case.
The carriage return on this electric typewriter is manual. The carriage of the Classic 12 had a paces key and a touch selector to switch between mild, moderate, and heavy key strikers.
Depending on the condition and age of the classic 12, you can find it in the range of $100 to $250 online.
Smith Corona Super Speed Silent
As the name implies, it was truly one of the super machines from the Smiths. In 1938, Smith-top-of-the-line Corona’s model was the Super-Speed Silent. There are substantial slabs of sound-dampening felt underneath the body panels (given the “silent” name).
Smith-Corona started offering its standards in the early 20s with either left- or right-hand returns. However, it is highly uncommon to find a right-hand return fitted in 1938.
Two metal stops also flank the period and comma keys. The stops enable the keys to only press against the paper with their tips.
Super-Speed was one of the first typewriter models that L.C. Smith Brothers Typewriter Companies produced when they merged. The 1930s saw the creation. The old typewriter is available online for between $150 and $300.
How to Identify and Value Smith Corona Typewriters
Although it might be challenging to pinpoint the precise year a typewriter was manufactured, collectors hunting for antique or vintage versions can often identify them by the brand name embossed on the front of the machine.
The oldest vintage typewriters may be distinguished very well from their shape alone. This is because they had peculiar designs that became outdated in decades. Newer models could provide more of a challenge, but you can still recognize them by their brand and serial number.
The manufacturer’s number is typically imprinted on the front of typewriter frames.
Because serial numbers can be found everywhere on the typewriter, finding them can be a little more challenging.
A collector might ascertain the typewriter’s age by getting its serial and model numbers. The Typewriter Database can help you date your typewriter using the serial number. In addition, it’s a website with information on many vintage typewriter model types.
Furthermore, while trying to get value for your vintage typewriter, you can get help by checking previously sold prices. Having a good knowledge of the price others purchased will tell you the perfect value for your item.
Also, ensure to confirm the condition of the typewriter and check reviews from previous buyers to ascertain the originality of the machines.
Factors to Consider Before You Buy or Sell Your Vintage Typewriter
If old typewriters are calling your name with their timeless design, solid weight, and absence of a “backspace” button, you can have one anytime!
Recognizing what you want and spotting a reasonable price once you see it will help you make the purchase you’ve been waiting to make, whether you buy your typewriter offline or online.
The following are factors to consider while shopping for a vintage Smith Typewriter:
The older the typewriters, the rarer they become and the pricier they get. So in that light, typewriters from the 1890s and older, especially those created in the 19th century, may be worth a thousand dollars if they’re still in working order.
On the other hand, vintage typewriters that are very recent may cost a little lesser and even lower if they aren’t functional.
Ensure you check that your typewriter is in functional condition and that the labels and parts are all cleaned.
The highest prices are usually paid for typewriters that are in pristine condition and free of paint scratches, damaged labels, or metal pitting.
Additionally, refurbished equipment typically sells for more money. So you can opt for a repair before Selling.
The place of production is crucial for a typewriter. For example, while some Americans may be solely interested in collecting typewriters made in Europe, some are after those made in Japan.
As a result, Europe typewriters tend to have more excellent value among Americans.
Where Can You Buy Vintage Smith Corona Typewriters?
Do you have any vintage Smith Corona typewriters, and after finding out their value, you are wondering where you can sell them? Below are a few places you can quickly sell your items and at a good
On the internet, buyers and sellers frequently cross, and business flourishes. For example, most people frequently explore listings on amazon and other online stores while shopping for vintage items.
The good thing about online is that since you’re dealing directly with collectors, you can typically score a decent deal.
If you urgently want some extra cash, it is the simplest option. But to be sure you are not in error, carefully examine the costs associated with the auction site because not all of them are equal.
There are many online stores where you can sell your products at varying fees, although some are free for listing. let us look at a few of them:
eBay: A well-known internet marketplace where you can sell old typewriters is eBay. By increasing the value of highly sought-after objects and collections even above the average market value, the auction structure can assist in recouping the costs associated with using the site as your sales channel.
Finally, eBay should be your best bet if you have a good knowledge of typewriters.
Etsy: Deals could be a little difficult because most vendors are aware of the value of their products. But if you need to find a specific item or want to finish your collection of vintage products, it is undoubtedly one of the first websites you should look over.
Typewriters are pretty simple to acquire in antique stores, but you should watch out for overpriced items while making a purchase.
The owners of antique shops are frequently aware of the value of their old typewriters, so they may overcharge you for one or try to sell you one that is damaged. Always ask to try the typewriter before buying if you intend to use it and not for decor.
Antique Flea Markets
Although they are unlikely found at a traditional flea market, vintage typewriters are frequently seen at vintage flea markets. These one-day sales can provide more fantastic prices than the majority of other reputable vintage stores, depending on the volume and quality of the products.
Flea markets might be the spot for you if you’re on a tight budget and don’t have a particular model in mind.
Smith-Corona typewriters introduced their first typewriter in 1926. However, the companies that formed them had been in the typewriter business years before the merger.
The Smith-Corona Typewriter Company created writing machines that captivated users even during the Great Depression by fusing flexibility and sturdiness.
Smith-Corona, a maker of electric typewriters, adapted to emerging trends and became one of the forerunners in the word processing sector.
Unfortunately, personal computers won the company’s market. The business decided to start making thermal labels as a result.
We believe with the above information in hand, and you are now good to begin your journey as a fresh vintage Smith typewriter collector. We have dealt with and provided answers to almost all your questions and concerns.
We discussed how the Smith Corona typewriter company came about to make their first writing machine and the company’s progress to date. We have also discussed some notable models and their estimated prices.
You can proudly exhibit your item in your home and tell guests its history once you’ve established whether it truly is a vintage. The more you are aware of an object’s past, the more you value its beauty.
So, what is your favorite model of the smith corona typewriters? Please tell us in the comments section.