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VariTyper: Model Galleries

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VariTyper: Typewriter Serial Number Age List

Serial Number Table Last Edited: 03/13/18 05:42
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.

Mar 3, 1911 • Granted: Oct 15, 1912
Inventor: James Bartlett Hammond
Hammond Typewriter Co., 69. Street and East River,New York, U.S.A.
Since 1931: Vari-Typer Inc., 132. Street, New York, U.S.A.
Later: Ralph C. Coxhead Corp., 333. Avenue of the Americas, New York, U.S.A.
Models and s/n Y M D Remarks Ref.
  1880     This date is not a production date and should not be used, although it had been common for collectors and historians to use it until around the year 2000.
It is the right year for the first small Hammond factory, but it was basically a laboratory to solve the design problems of the Hammond until production began four years later.
In addition to the problems with the material the type wheel face was made of, there were problems about the quality of the printing. This second problem apparently was a major one that slowed the date of the production of the Hammond 1 Ideal until 1884.

Hammond No. 1 Ideal

Serial Number Location: Under right ribbon spool. 31
  1884 Production likely began in mid to late 1884.
Factory = Foot of East 52nd Street
Sales Office = 75 and 77 Nassau st., New York
Curved keyboard, entire wooden housing, two piece type-shuttle, central "turret" covered with olive celluloid sheet.
There are no known advertisements for the Hammond before 1885, and those are late in the year.
  1885     Ideal #1 Serial 85 39
  1886     Sales Office = 143 Centre St., New York 130
  1887     Ideal #1 Serial 3149 39
  1887     Ad states over 4000 in use.
Sales Office = 75 and 77 Nassau St., New York
  1888     Ideal #1 Serial 5621, 5902, 9081
Sales Office = 75 and 77 Nassau St.; 77 Nassau St.; then 78 Nassau St., and also 292-298 Ave. B, New York
  1889     Ideal #1 Serial 7563 39
  1890     Ad states 11,000 now in use.
General Offices and Factory = 69th to 70th Streets [some give the address of the second factory as 639 East 69th St.], New York
Sales Offices = 77 Nassau and then at 447 and 449 East 52nd St., New York

Hammond No. 1 Exchange Model

  1891 In April, 1891, Hammond announces that it will sell a special version of the #1 Ideal with a wooden covered housing (a bit different shape than original covered housing) for $50. These were called "The Hammond EXCHANGE" model. In a trade catalog for the # 2 models, it specifies advertises this as "The Exchange Model of 1892." The Exchange model Ideal Hammonds were given their OWN serial number sequence. The serial numbers are quite low, and thus should not be confused with the regular Hammond sequence and are much later than the original ones. This is the only situation when Hammond made machines with base serial numbers outside the sequence for the regular Hammond #1's and all other Hammond models. Exchange model Ideal #1's were offered as late as 1896. 130
  1892     First major modification of the #1 Ideal is introduced. The wooden housing is eliminated but the split shuttle and ebony keyboard remain the same. Earliest ad for this is February, 1892.
Then, by no later than December, 1892 (based on a dated advertisement) another modification was made. The split typewheel is replaced with a single-piece type sector that was attached to a vertical cylinder. This attached type sector was named an "anvil" and the hammer was modified to go with it. The new form was called the "Anvil and Shuttle" design. It was applied to BOTH the Ideal and the Universal keyboard #1 Hammond models.
Thus, the Hammond split typewheel is no longer a feature of new Hammonds from December, 1892 on. It is replaced by the "shuttle." Typeface catalogs now describe the availability of the typewheels and the shuttles separately.
Also, in 1892, a "manifolding attachment" is introduced for both the Ideal and the Universal. The "attachment" appears to simply be interchangeable rubber hammer tips varied hardness.

Hammond No. 1 Universal

    The Hammond #1 Universal was introduced in 1890 (the earliest ads are July, 1890), and have serial numbers running in the same sequence as other Hammond models.
The three-bank machine has nickel-plated ringed keys. The number of keys is 30, the same number as on the Ideal. The key tops (called "finger pieces" by Hammond) themselves were advertised as interchangeable for different languages. This and the overt recognition by Hammond that many typist have been trained on "universal" machines made by other companies, is the only advantage of the new Universal design overtly recognized by Hammond in its advertising.
By December, 1893, the Universal is advertised as having the "type-bar touch," It has the same "tower" mechanism as the Ideal of this period and includes the split typewheel. From this point on, Hammond typeface catalogs have to distinguish Ideal and Universal typewheels.
The introduction takes place at the same time that Hammond opens its new, larger factory.
  1890     #1 Universal serial 14421 39
  1897     #1 Serial 4621 (suspected Remodel serial number) 39

Hammond No. 1 'A'

  1891 The Model "1A" [a collector’s designation, not a factory one] was introduced in 1891. The 1A is an Ideal Keyboard machine with the original ebony keys on a two-row keyboard that is "open," with the frame attached to a flat baseboard. Originally, it had the split type wheel, but by 1893-94 it had the one-piece shuttle [collectors designate this as the "1B."]. The range for 1 A's in the Typewriter Times [November, 1986] list is from ser. # 4502-# 24626. Note that Universal keyboard Hammond # 1's were introduced in 1890 and have serial #'s running in the same sequence as other Hammond models. 130
  1898     #1A Serials 16285, 22226, 23633 39

Hammond No. 1 'B'

  1893-94 Ebony keys, curved keyboard, no more wooden housing, two piece type-shuttle, central "turret" covered with olive celluloid sheet 5,130

No. 2 Ideal and Universal

  1895 Sales Office = 139 Broadway, New York
The introduction of the Hammond #2 Ideal and Universal models was launched in 1895, but most of the early ads are from 1896. The following were new to these models:
  1. greater visibility for the typed line was created through a mechanism that included a horizontal metal tab attached to the front of the upper portion of the tower that, when pushed down, exposed the current line being typed;
  2. the introduction of interchangeable celluloid, small rectangular key tops to the Ideal—for the Universal, now add-on, snap-on key top sets could be used for different language sectors, but the standard key tops were not interchangeable themselves;
  3. the vertical rods in the tower that activate the turning of the type sector were now in a single arched row, rather that the two-row arrangement that was on all #1 models
  4. the black-painted metal paper tube that was installed in the carriage that had been solid or, in some cases, perforated with widely-spaced drilled holes on the #1 models , was now replaced with a metal mesh tube that was first a fairly coarse screen-like material and then was replaced with a fine-mesh screen-material. In both cases, the tube was nickel-plated.
  5. a celluloid plate was installed above the keyboard, usually with the Hammond name on it; this was angled towards the user and had clips to hold printed cardboard celluloid-laminated keyboard guide for different languages than on the standard keyboard.
  6. the ribbon spool and all ribbon handling parts are redesigned to use a 13/32-inch ribbon, instead or the narrower 5/16-inch one on the #1 models.
  1895     #2 Serial 26457 [Universal] 39
  1896     About 1896, Hammond introduced five additional models based on the #2 technology. All but the #5 were offered with either Ideal or Universal keyboards. These models were:
  • #3 with a 11.5 inch carriage
  • #4 with standard carriage and 9 characters per inch
  • #5 with 4-row Greek sector and three shift keys
  • #6 with 16 inch carriage
  • #7 with 20 inch carriage
  • #8 with 30 inch carriage
In addition, some special models adapted for specific work were introduced in 1896. For example, a "Card Cataloger" was introduced for library work. The ads for it show an Ideal, but it is likely that it was offered with the Universal keyboard.
  1898     #2 Serial 34259, 34265, 34266 [all Ideal], 35841 [Universal] 39
  1898     #1 Remodeled to #2 Ideal, Serial 3053R, 8983R 39
  1902-1903     Sales Office = 165 Broadway, New York
About 1902-1903, Hammond begins to ship all Hammond models with a simplified paper rack. The rack on previous models had been constructed of two cast support arms and a rod, all of which had been nickel plated. Now the rack was made of a single bent rod that was nickel plated.
This is often called the "coat hanger" paper rack. This was much easier and cheaper to make, and was also used on the #12. Introduced in 1904.
Of course, some early #2 machines have these later racks because the three-piece rack often broke, and, once available, it could be replaced with the new form.
  1905     Sales Office = 223 Broadway, New York 130
  1906     Sales Office = 212 Broadway, New York 130
  1908     #2 Serial 61277 39

No. 12 Ideal and Universal

Serial Number Location: On left back end of machine over left rear rubber foot. 31
  1904 In 1904, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Hammond introduced the model 12 with either an Ideal or Universal Keyboard. Some of the new model machines were sold in 1904, but most of the earliest ephemera are from 1905.
The major new characteristics of #12 Hammonds is he introduction of a modification in visible access to the line being typed by eliminating the tab system on the # 2-based models and introducing a kind of "ribbon vibrator" that moved the ribbon down after a letter was struck. The visible aspect of this change is a horizontal metal wire sitting on top of the tower with a ribbon carrier at the carriage side and attached at the front of the tower with a small metal bale that allowed the wire hoop to move up and down. There is an angled up pinch in the loop at the front that can be pushed down for ribbon adjustment of to insert a small cut piece of red carbon paper to change the color of the printing. This was marketed as the "Polychrome Ribbon Attachment."
In addition, the hammer now had a head with four different rubber faces on it that could be switched depending on the elasticity/hardness needed. The heads were part of a roratatable rubber ring. There were modifications that included a feed ratchet and release to make it easier to adjust and a change in the way the hammer spring worked. Other characteristics of the #2 basic design were retained in the #12 with both keyboards. Aesthetically, the color of the celluloid key card guide was made in black or in white.
  1906-1908     The Universal 12 was offered with a mathematical keyboard and a four-row typesector. 130
  1907     Universal #12 Serial 103615 39
  1912     The "Reversible" Hammond #12 Universal model was introduced. While the main purpose was to make it possible to type in Arabic and Hebrew, the machine could write all of the other 300 type styles available by then. 130

Multiplex Ideal and Universal

  1913 The primary change that defined the new Multiplex models introduced in 1913 was the capacity to carry two different type sectors on the tower anvil. To change typefaces, all the user needed to do was to lift and rotate the anvil and drop it into the typing position.
The first models through mid 1915 were "open" versions; they still used the ribbon spools as on the previous model and the key levers and tower were exposed.
In addition, the Multiplex introduced a back space key. The key tops of the Universal were changed to metal-ringed glass-topped ones.
  1915 The most obvious change in both models was the enclosing of the tower and key levers and the introduction of ribbon cups and regular metal spools. In addition, by no later than this, a capacity for a two-color ribbon was introduced.
The first Hammond portable was introduced. It was made of aluminum and was in a leatherette-covered wooden case. It had all the usual covered Multiplex characteristics, but it was somewhat smaller and lighter. It was offered, like the regular Multiplex Universal, as a Mathematical model.
For the first time, Hammond offered the Universal with variable pitch settings—from 4 to 18 letters to the inch. This change, in combination with the interchangeable type faces, will become the basis of the Varityper models from 1927 on.
In 1915, the new covered Multiplex Universal was first offered in a "Mathematical Model" that was "improved." The improvement over the #12 mathematical Universal is not clear.
Note that the Reversible Hammond 12 Universal continued to be made and sold until at least 1915. It was replaced by a "closed" Multiplex version that year.
  1917     Multiplex Serial 110154 [Ideal], 163881 [Universal] 39

Multiplex Portable

  1915 Introduced 1915, Aluminum frame, Non-folding keyboard. 130
  1919     Portable Multiplex Serial AL202867 39

Model 26 Multiplex Folding

  1921 The Hammond Universal Multiplex Folding Portable was introduced. Note that the common incorrect date given is 1923, but the 1921 date given is based on a postmarked advertising flier for the folding portable that was sent on September 27, 1921.
The main innovation was a keyboard that folded up to make the machine far more compact that the original portable of 1915. It was also made of aluminum and was offered in special models, particularly the Scientific and Mathematical one with three shift keys and two four-row type sectors of different pitch sizes.
It also could be purchased with a switch to vary the pitch size for the escapement.
Basically the same machine as the Model 26 Portable. In addition, this design was the basis of the first Varityper in 1927.
  1923     Sales Office = 553A East 69th St., New York 130


  1927     The variable pitch version of the Hammond Multiplex Folding Portable is re-labeled as "VARITYPER." The decal appears in the same position on the tower cover as "FOLDING" had in the previous year.
These are manual, non-electric machines from serial #300,000 ending with the electric models starting in 1930 at serial #400,000.
  1928     Earliest documented offering of an aluminum-framed mechanical desk-top office VARITYPER with variable pitch switch.
Offered by Vari-typer Incorporated of New York, NY.
Based on a trade catalog and the several testimonial letters it includes from June, 1928 to April, 1929. The catalog is copyrighted 1929.
  1929 Since 1929: Vari-Typer Inc., 132 Street, New York, U.S.A.
The 1929 Vari-Typer is a manual, non-electric office model; the lower body including the space bar guard, are often unpainted (the whole body is aluminum).
  1929-1930 First Electric Varityper introduced in ca. 1930 by Coxhead of NYC
Ralph C. Coxhead, 17 Park Place, New York
Ralph C. Coxhead Corp., 333 Avenue of the Americas, New York
Ralph C. Coxhead Corp., Newark, New Jersey
  1933 Second version of Electric Vari-Typer introduced ca. 1933 by Coxhead in NYC; these used a carbon ribbon and were the key to sales to advertising agencies and small newspapers 130
  1950s     Name changed to simply Coxhead = Vari-Typer Corp., Newark, New Jersey - both names were used. 130
  1953 Third version of Electric Vari-Typer introduced ca. 1953 by Coxhead in NYC. Model "DSJ". 130
  1953 Vari-Typer Stencil-Writer introduced ca. 1953 by Coxhead in NYC. 130
  1956 Fourth version of Electric Vari-Typer introduced ca. 1956 by Coxhead in NYC. Model "DSJF". 130
  1963 Model 660 Vari-Typer. 5 other models available. 130
  1970     production ended 5
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