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Smith Corona is a US manufacturer of thermal labels, direct thermal labels, and thermal ribbons used in warehouses for primarily barcodelabels. Once a large U.S. typewriter and mechanical calculatormanufacturer, it expanded aggressively during the 1960s to become a broad-based industrial conglomerate whose products extended to paints, foods, and paper. The mechanical calculator sector was wiped out in the early 1970s by the production of cheap electronic calculators, and the typewriter business collapsed in the mid-1980s due to the introduction ofPC-based word processing. Smith Corona did address this by manufacturing word processing typewriters such as PWP 1400 model. Its competitors were BrotherOlivettiAdler, Olympia and IBM. In late 2010, Smith Corona entered the industrial ribbon and label market. The company no longer manufacturers typewriters or calculators, but does manufacture large quantities of barcode and shipping labels and thermal ribbons used in thermal transfer printers. Their facility is in Cleveland, OH. Smith Corona now competes with distributors of Zebra Technologies supplies, packaging companies like Uline and various other private companies.
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History[edit]
Smith Premier Typewriter Co. at Syracuse, New York in c. 1908
Smith Premier Typewriter Co. at Syracuse, New York c.1910 – The Smith Premier factory seen here was begun in early March 1903 and was completed in about four months. The factory was shut down around 1921 when the Smith Premier Typewriter Company was absorbed fully by Remington Typewriter Company. This is the street side view; powerhouse and rail spur are behind, on the right out of view.
The company originated in 1886, when the Smith Premier Typewriter Company was established by brothers; Lyman Cornelius Smith, Wilbert Smith, Monroe C. Smith and Hurlburt Smith. The brothers created the first machine to use both uppercase and lowercase letters. This was accomplished with a unique feature that made use of a double keyboard. The advertisements "cunningly boasted" that there was "a key for every character!"
In 1887, the Smith-Premier, the first typewriter to bear the Smith name, was manufactured in Lyman C. Smith's gun factory on South Clinton Street in Syracuse, New YorkAlexander T. Brown, an employee, invented the machine, and Wilbert Smith financed the construction of the prototype.
Gun factory[edit]
Lyman Smith and Wilbert Smith owned a gun factory in Syracuse and after they hired Brown he sparked Wilburt's interest in financing and improving typewriters. The parts of a typewriter are surprisingly similar to those of a shotgun "so producing the typewriter at the gun factory was logical and easy."
Business was going so well, in 1888, the Smith brothers discontinued shotgun production and strictly produced typewriters with the help of their younger brothers, Monroe Smith and Hurlbut Smith.
Smith Brothers[edit]
The Smith Premier Typewriter Company was established in 1886 by brothers; Lyman Cornelius Smith, Wilbert Smith, Monroe C. Smith and Hurlbut Smith who were born in Lisle, New York.
Eldest brother, Leroy Smith, invented the Peerless typewriter in 1891, which "greatly resembled" the Smith-Premier. It had the same double keyboard with 76 characters and also had "blind type" so the typist could not see what was being printed.
Lyman C. Smith, One of the founders of Smith Premier Typewriter Co., December 31, 1903
Hurlburt W. Smith, One of the founders of Smith Premier Typewriter Co., July 29, 1904
Union Typewriter Company[edit]
During 1893, Smith joined with the Union Typewriter Company, a trust in Syracuse which included rival firms Remington, Caligraph, Densmore and Yost.
Not long after, Union took action and blocked the Smith Premier Typewriter Company from using the new front strike design, which allowed typists to see the paper as they typed. As a result, the Smith brothers quit in 1903 and founded L. C. Smith & Bros. Typewriter Company. The new company soon released the "L.C. Smith & Bros. Model No. 2", which was an odd beginning because, a full year later, they released the "L.C. Smith & Bros. Model No. 1." Carl Gabrielson was the inventor of both No. 1 and No. 2 models.
In 1906, the Rose Typewriter Company of New York City marketed the first successful portable typewriter. They were "bought out" by Smith in 1909 and the company moved upstate to Groton, New York. At that time, the firm was renamed Standard Typewriter Company.
Typewriter services[edit]
This Smith Premier typewriter, purchased around the end of the 19th century, was found abandoned in the BodieCalifornia ghost town.
To promote usage of the typewriter, the company began by offering typing services at the company headquarters located at the corner of East Genesee and Washington streets in Syracuse. An advertisement on December 27, 1904, for Smith Premier typewriters, touted the Employee Department which offered services such as finding a "competentstenographer (male or female) to operate any make of machine." The company advertised they could provide the services promptly, saving clients time and trouble and "examining" all applicants. Operators could perform duties such as stenographer, typewriter, telegrapher and bookkeeper.
Corona Typewriter Company[edit]
Corona typewiter, 1920–22.
Smith-Corona as used at a newspaper in Saskatoon around 1910.
With the success of their Corona model in 1914, Standard Typewriter Company was renamed again and became the Corona Typewriter Company. Smith Corona was created when L. C. Smith & Bros. united with Corona Typewriter in 1926, with L. C. Smith & Bros. making office typewriters and Corona Typewriter making portables.
World War II M1903A3 bolt-action rifles[edit]
Production shifted from typewriters to various military weapons and parts during World War II. In October 1942, Smith-Corona Typewriter Company began producing M1903A3 Springfield rifles at its plant in Syracuse, with assistance from Remington Arms and High Standard Manufacturing Company. Subcontractor barrels give unusual collector value to some of these 234,580 Springfield rifles. Serial numbers 3608000 to 3707999 and 4708000 to 4992000 carry the Smith-Corona name on the receiver ring. While many M1903A3 rifles manufactured by Remington have 2-groove barrels, most rifles assembled by Smith Corona used 4-groove barrels manufactured by High Standard, and approximately five thousand of the barrels finished by High Standard were from 6-groove barrel blanks made by Savage Arms.
Bolts on Remington M1903A3 rifles have a parkerized finish and are stamped with the letter R at the root of the handle; while Smith Corona bolts are blued and usually stamped with a letter X on top of the handle, although some are unmarked. Some extractors on Smith Corona rifles are stamped with a letter S on the bottom. Stamped steel stock fittings were generally blued, although some were parkerized in late production. Butt plates of the Smith Corona rifles were checkered with 10 or 11 lines per inch, while Remington used 16 lines per inch. Rifle production ceased on February 19, 1944, when supplies of standard M1 Garand rifles were considered adequate. Some of the rifles were never issued, while others were reconditioned in government armories after service use. Reconditioned rifles often have substituted parts from Remington or Springfield manufacture. Most rifles were stored after the war until many were sold through the Civilian Marksmanship Program in the early 1960s.
Mid-century[edit]
The "Speedline" series portables were made from 1939 to 1948.
The "Super 5" series portables were made from 1949 to 1960. They are generally considered to be among the best portable typewriters by writers and typists.
After the war, the company concentrated on making its typewriters more convenient and efficient for use in business offices. Typewriter sales peaked after World War II; in response to a demand for typewriters capable of faster output, Smith Corona introducedelectric typewriters in 1955. Electric portables, intended for traveling writers and business people, but later widely purchased for general home use, were introduced in 1957.
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