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Liberty: Typewriter Serial Number Age List

Brand: Molle Also known as • Liberty

Serial Number Table Last Edited: 08/8/16 04:11
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.

  1903-1906 Patents:
Filed Apr 1, 1903 • Issued Nov 24, 1903
Filed Dec 28, 1904 • Issued Feb 27, 1906
Filed Feb 10, 1913 • Issued Dec 16, 1913
Filed Dec 12, 1911 • Issued Dec 23, 1913
Filed Feb 10, 1913 • Issued Jan 20, 1914
John E. Molle, a jeweler and watchmaker in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.A. filed his first design in patent 1903, and struggled to finance manufacure until finally successfully bringing his machine to the market in 1918. By then his design, though interesting, was dated and too unusual to succeed greatly in a marketplace now dominated by smaller, lighter portables and 4-bank machines of conventional design, and the venture failed in 1922.
"Molle" is pronounced as "Mollie".
  • On the earliest machines, the words "OSHKOSH, WISCONSON" are printed on the base of the machine below the company's name. "Molle" is printed on the paper table. Very, very early machines have nickle-plated sides.
  • Subsequently, the words "OSHKOSH, WIS., U.S. of A." are printed on the base of the machine. Also, an emblem appears on the paper table adjacent "Molle". The emblem displays a "T" superimposed upon an "M," creating the "MT" logo which presumably stands for "Molle Typewriter." These machines are rare.
  • After a brief run the emblem disappears. The words "OSHKOSH, WIS., U.S. of A." remain.
  • The Liberty maintains a similar design, but featuring the words "CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, U.S. of A" on the base and "Liberty" on the paper table. Same paint scheme and lettering style. Also marked No. 3.
Platen Diameter       unknown  
Models and s/n Y M D Remarks Ref.
  1907     May, 1907: Molle Typewriter Co., of Antigo, Wisconsin, USA, is incorporated with 11 shareholders for $25,000.
No. 1 1908     Molle's first design was meant to become the "Jundt", built by Alfred Jundt in Dayton, Ohio, USA, but the design appears to have never made it to production. 5,16,85
  1911 12   Jan 1912: Molle Typewriter Co. is incorporated again with capital stock of $100,000 by John E. Molle, Frank H. Pardoe and Robert Schmidt. 103
No. 2 1914 6   A second design by Molle in 1914 (name unknown) does not come to fruition. 5,16
  1915 01   Molle Typewriter Co. factory is completed in 1915 on 53 Ceape Avenue, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA. 103
No. 3
1918 Standard 3 bank with unique type linkage: when a key is pressed, it moves a tiny crank which rotates a rod underneath. At the other end of the rod is a similar crank which pulls down the type bar link, causing the type bar to pivot up to the platen.
Sold for $50. Weight: 11 3/4 lbs. Platen length: 8.75", 30 keys, 90 characters, double shift. Aluminum frame, pressed steel parts.
Machine is built in 3 sections that can be easily removed without tools: base, action and carriage. Carriage and shift mechanism on ball bearings.
Most examples are painted black with gold pinstriping, but a rare variation is a white-painted model. Also rare "MT" logo labelled machines are known in the 2000 serial range.
April 27, 1918: John E. Molle dies at age 46, and Molle Typewriter is restructured with Molle's widow and brother in control. They appoint Robert D. Wynn to run the company.
June 1918: Molle announces government orders and factory improvements.
Series likely begins at #1000.
1751-3750 1919     Molle Typewriter Co. goes public and begins selling shares. In April 19, 1919 Union Securities Co. offers Molle stock at $2/share, approved by R. D. Wynn, General Manager.
May 1919: Molle advertises seeking agents in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. English General Sales Manager is Carling, Hadley & Co., 2 Pall Mall, Manchester, England.
July 1919: New Molle product catalog is released with sectional drawings of the Molle, factory photos and the history of the Molle Typewriter Co. (I want to find a copy of this)
Molle is offered in France by agent M. Paul Ledreux, 59 Rue St. Lazare, Paris, France.
Sept. 1919: Molle No. 3 is now offered with from 1 to 5 "dead keys" for foreign languages.
Oct 1919: Molle exhibits at the New York Business Show.
Nov 17, 1919: Molle exhibits at the Chicago Business Show.
Dec 1919: Molle factory and R. D. Wynn entertain its British representatives in Wisconsin.
2000 units sold in 1919.
3751-4950 1920     Aug 1920: W. P. Boyd, Ltd. Typewriter and Office Equipment Exchange, 6-7 South Parade, Leeds, England is appointed sole distributor for Molle in Yorkshire.
Sept 1920: General Manager R. D. Wynn authorized to increase Molle's capital stock from $500,000 to $5 million. Par value of stock is raised from $1 to $10.
Dec 18, 1920: Manufacturing section of Molle plant has been shut down for as long as 30 months, but machines are still being assembled and shipped by a staff of 22. 1,200 machines have been assembled and awaiting "better foreign exchange rates" for shipment.
[Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, December 18, 1920]
4951-7950 1921     Feb 22, 1921: R. D. Wynn appeals to stockholders and citizens of Oshkosh to buy a new Molle typewriter at $50 and loan the company a further $50 for 60 days @6% interest. Molle now has 1,100 machines assembled and awaiting shipment, of which 350 have American keyboards. The remaining 750 have foreign keyboards and are still awaiting shipment to fill export orders.
Wynn states that if fully invested, Molle can produce a further 1,000 American keyboard machines from existing parts. Wynn states that the Monday previous, the stockholders had voted to reorganize again, with the new company stock exchanged 2 to 1 for old stock. Stock capital is now $2,500,000. Wynn assures investors the comany will be back on its feet in 2 months.
[Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, February 22, 1921]
7951 and above 1922     May 1 1922: Molle Typewriter Sales Co., Ltd., Oshkosh, Wi. is formed to handle the exclusive sales in the USA of the Molle typewriter. Molle Typewriter Corporation is the parent company and A. J. Alsdorf Corporation of Chicago continuing as export managers for all foreign sales.
July 3, 1922: Molle Typewriter Corporation is adjucated bankrupt by the United States Court for Eastern District of Wisconsin. Charles H. Forward is appointed Referee in Bankruptcy. Indications are that Molle will attempt to reorganize under the leadership of R. D. Wynn, the former general manager.
Company liabilities are $131,716, nominal asset value is $262,028 with machinery valued at $168,440 and merchandise worth $78,690.
[note that $78,690 is the value of around 1,574 Molles at retail price. It could be that these thousand or so Molles got auctioned off in lots, leaving several companies with batches of Molles to sell, perhaps with the largest lot going to Liberty in Chicago.]
It is believed that about 7000 units were produced in total.
Liberty No. 3 1923 Liberty Typewriter Company of Chicago, Ill., USA markets remaining Molle No. 3's as Liberty.
It is currently unknown if Liberty series continues the Molle serial numbers past 8000.
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