Antique Typewriters

The Martin Howard Collection




Smith Premier 1

Smith Premier 1


L.C. Smith Gun Co., Syracuse, New York
1890 - serial no.7117 - view patent

The Smith Premier was the most advertised and successful double keyboard typewriter of its time. A double keyboard is required as each key has only one function, white keys for lowercase and black keys for uppercase and figures.

Model 1 is distinguished from later models by its exquisite nickel-plated embossed pattern on the frame. You can see close up views of this spectacular design in the detail images below.

While other typewriters linked their keys to type-bars with levers that rocked up and down, the Smith Premier uses a system of turning rods to transfer the motion from the key to the type-bar. Pressing a key rotates a horizontal rod running the length of the machine. At the back end, a small lever connected to the rod pulls down on the type-bar above. This unique design of transferring motion from the key to type-bar gives a very smooth and responsive touch for the typist.

It sold for $100 in line with many keyboard typewriters of the day. In comparison, a horse-drawn carriage cost around $60 and a finely engraved rifle was $35.

“The pen is mightier than the sword but the Smith Premier typewriter bends them both”

"Improvement the order of the age."


Detailed Typewriter Image


Smith Premier 1 Smith Premier 1 Smith Premier 1

Period Advertisement


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Typewriter Letterhead


Smith Premier 1 Smith Premier 1