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Bennington: Typewriter Serial Number Age List

Also known as • Xcel

Serial Number Table Last Edited: 08/7/16 07:15
NOTE: dates shown are JAN 1 unless noted, so the serial number shown is the *first* serial number produced the given year. Exceptions are serial numbers preceded by "up to"(where you can assume that the numbers reported in that subsection are DECEMBER 31, END OF YEAR NUMBERS) or rows where a month is given in the month column. If the serial number is shown as a range (xxxx-xxxx) it indicates that we know the entire range of serial numbers for the given year.

  1901-1903 Patents:
US762272
Filed Oct 22, 1901 • Issued Jun 14, 1904
Patented by Wesley Henry Bennington of Kansas City, MO., USA in 1901, the Bennington was a *FIVE* row 68 key downstrike typewriter with a unique keyboard-operated carriage return that you pull towards you like a slot machine to linefeed and return to the left margin. The machine also had keyboard-operated linespace advance and retreat keys. Included 26 extra keys printing whole common words.
Bennington tries to produce his machine again in 1907 with an overhauled design, which also appears to have failed to achieve mass production. A still later revival of the concept in 1922 called the Xcel was a redesigned frontstroke machine with similar capabilities.
5,27,65,98
Platen Diameter       unknown  
Models and s/n Y M D Remarks Ref.
Bennington No. 1 1903 Five-row downstrike "Word Typewriter", probably produced in a Missouri factory, if produced in any numbers at all. Only one is known to have been made.
May 15, 1903: letter from Bennington offices assures investors that the machine is at the patent lawyers and that Mr. Bennington has begun scouting locations for a "permanent" factory. The letter then solicits more investment warning that further stock issuances will not be "less than $1" per share, that there are "payment terms" in case the investor had no ready cash, and that advertisements have been changed accordingly. The letter also makes a plea to the recipient to also afford his brother the unique investment opportunity.
The Bennington offices are at this point located at rooms 304-305 Lyceum Building, Kansas City, Mo., USA, and the phone number is 3336 MAIN. Carl Ludwig is the company Secretary.
5,27,98
1905   October 1905: Bennington Typewriter Co. Incorporated in Arizona and issues stock offering.
[Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona), October 4 & November 6, 1905]
December 1905: probate court in Dayton, Ohio orders the sale of the property of the Bennington Typewriter Co. in bankruptcy proceedings.
65,94
1906   February 1906: Bennington scouts out factory locations in Columbus, Ohio, USA.
95
Bennington No. 2 1907 Five-row downstrike "Word Typewriter", probably produced in Cleveland, Ohio factory, if produced in any numbers at all. Probably one demonstration model was made at least, if the other two tries are any indication.
May 1907: George Watkin scouts Middletown, Ohio for a factory location for Bennington, and plans are drawn up for 250x600-sqft factory in Columbus the same month.
June 1907: Bennington Typewriter Co. Incorporated in Arizona with authorized capital stock of $2,500,000, securing an option on factory sites in Cleveland. W. H. Bennington of Columbus, Ohio is President.
August 1907: trade reports suggest that the Bennington factory will be located in Cleveland, Ohio rather than Columbus.
5,27,83,105
1908-1921   In 1908-1909, Geo. Mares writes about the then-current Bennington as if it is still a going concern, but expresses incredulity at the patience of the company's investors, as Bennington still hasn't managed to bring his machine to the market.
Unknown if factory in Cleveland is ever built or if Bennington production restarts until 15 years later when Bennington introduces a newly designed Word typewriter called the Xcel, and nearly succeeds in taking over the Fox Typewriter factory and production line.
Dec 1920: Bennington Typewriter Co. apparently incorporates in Arizona to manufacture the machine, Thus it is possible that yet another Bennington prototype may have been made and shopped to investors in the west between 1920-1921.
78
Xcel 1922 Five-row frontstrike "Word Typewriter", probably produced in the Fox Typewriter Co., factory at 472 Front St., Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA., if produced in any numbers at all.
Only one demonstration unit is known to have been made.
March 1922: Bennington forms a partnership to launch Xcel Typewriter Co. and the company is formed with a valuation of $3,300,000. In the same month, talks begin between Bennington and Fox to effect the sale of the distressed Fox to Bennington with the idea of Bennington producing the Xcel at the Fox factory along with the regular Fox product line. At this point, Fox is worth about $450,000 and the sale seems imminent.
April 1922: Xcel is announced to the trade with a large, glowing review. A demonstration machine is on display at the company's Ligget Building offices at 41 East 42nd Street, New York City, NY USA.
July 1, 1922: the deal between Fox and Bennington falls through.
82
1923   It is not known if the Xcel was ever produced in large numbers. We do know that Bennington failed to purchase the Fox factory, and after that, the record is silent.  
Keyboard Diagram  
82
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