Remington PortablespresentsThis is a long document, organized in chronological order. Togo directly to the information about a particular topic ormodel, wait until the page finishesloading, and then click on an item in thefollowing list.© 2019You may quote this page, including in eBay listings,if you credit The Classic Typewriter Page.Model names. Monarch Pioneer: see Pioneer.The Remington portable typewriters of the twenties and thirties area familiar sight in antique shops and flea markets across the U.S.(not to mention ).
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Many of them are charming and attractive,and there are few collectors who don't have at least one. However,it is difficult to find information about these machines. They wereproduced in bewildering variety, with a wide range of names andminor variations. (Remington's strategy for surviving the Depressionseems to have been to flood the market with every conceivablevariant of its two basic portable designs.)What follows is an attempt to systematize what I know aboutportable typewriters made by Remington before World War II. Thisis research in progress: I invite everyone to with furtherinformation about any of these typewriters, especially the lesscommon ones, and I'll add it to this page. I would also love toget pictures of models I haven't pictured here, or of beautifullycolored specimens.Some Remington portables do not carry the Remington name.
In theearly 1900s, Remington gained control of the Smith Premiertypewriter company and also introduced the Monarch frontstroketypewriter. These names were perpetuated through the 1930s, sothat there are 'Smith Premier' and 'Monarch' versions of manyRemington models. The Monarchs are labeled as made by the AmericanWriting Machine Co. Or Monarch Typewriter Co. Mark Adams writes,'It seems a Walter Drey, perhaps also the same Walter Drey who wasthe co-founder of Forbes, organized a Monarch Typewriter Companyas a selling agency for rebranded Remington typewriters during theGreat Depression. Drey's sole effort, it seems, was to recruitsales agents who would market Remington typewriters, though notbearing the Remington name.'
Other Remington models were labeled for sale by department storessuch as Sears Roebuck (the ), or Macy's(the Macy's machines usually have a red star on a corner and theMacy's name on a decal in the back). Finally, Remingtonmanufactured noiseless portables for.Many models had versions that were manufactured or assembledabroad. In the listings for American models below, I mention knownforeign name variants, and discuss the foreign versions in aseparate section on at the bottom of this page.Apart from personal observations, my main sources for theinformation below are serial number data compiled by the Remingtonpatent division in the 1950s (later made available to collectorsby Remington executive David P. Sheridan); Thomas Russo's Mechanical Typewriters; Paul Lippman's American Typewriters; 'TouchMethod Instructor for Remington Typewriters,' a pamphlet put outby Remington in the mid-thirties; and a 'Remington Touch MethodTyping Instruction Book' of 1940.
These sources sometimes conflictwith each other. I've taken the serial number data as mostauthoritative, but I know from comparing them to my owntypewriters that they are not foolproof. Take everything belowwith a grain of salt!The typewriters are listed in the chronological order of theirintroduction (which is not always the same as the order of themodel numbers!). Portions of the name given in brackets do notappear on the typewriter itself. The starting and ending dates ofthe production are listed, along with serial number data andproduction numbers. In May 1942, all production of Remingtontypewriters ceased for the duration of the war, as factories wereconverted to military purposes.For a more month-by-month breakdown of serial numbers compiled byTed Munk, based primarily on the Sheridan serial number data,visitLook for the serial number by moving the carriage to the left andright and looking in the rear corners.
Failing that, look in theupper right corner of the slotted comb from which the keyboardemerges.I am too busy to look up serial numbers, so I cannot give you anexact date for your typewriter based on the serial number.However, for each model on this page I provide the serial numberrange and the dates of manufacture, which will give you a generalidea.You can use the serial number to determine the precise month ofmanufacture only if you have a, or a. These models,like all Remington typewriters made from August 1914 throughAugust 1928, use a 2-letter, 5-numeral code. The first letterrepresents the model of the typewriter (J for the Junior, N forthe #1 and #2, or K for the Rem-Blick). The second letterrepresents the month of manufacture, according to the followingcode: P = JanuaryM = FebruaryL = MarchK = AprilX = MayS = JuneV = JulyE = AugustD = SeptemberC= OctoberZ= NovemberA = DecemberThe first numeral is the last numeral of the year in which thetypewriter was made (for example, '3' means 1923). The remainingfour numerals probably indicate the typewriter's sequence in themachines manufactured that month.
For example: KX80608 is the sixhundred and eighth Rem-Blick made in the month of May, 1928.Two basic mechanisms are used in Remington portables. Geared typebar mechanism: this design relies on a simplelinkage between type lever and typebar, which mesh together likegears. These are oblique-frontstroke typewriters: the typebarshit the platen at a spot between the front and the top of theplaten. Noiseless mechanism: in 'noiseless' portables, the typebar isprevented from slamming against the platen at full force; themomentum of a small weight brings it the last few millimeters tothe front of the platen. It's not truly noiseless, but it isquieter than a conventional typebar typewriter.Although Remington promotional literature boasts that both of thesemechanisms were 'engineered, developed, pioneered' by Remington, thegeared linkage was actually introduced by Wellington P. Kidder in1891 on histypewriter, and the noiseless technology was first used by theNoiseless Typewriter Company, which came out with thein 1921 and was bought in 1924 by Remington. The Noiseless Portablewas invented by George G.
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Going, who went on to work for Remington.When you find a Remington portable, the carriage may appear to befrozen. It has been locked in place for carrying. Try to release thecarriage by holding the carriage with your left hand and pulling outon the right platen knob with your right hand. If that doesn't work,there should be a small upright lever on the left end of the platenthat will release the carriage if you pull it slightly to the leftand then to the back. In order to relock the carriage, find a leveron the left end of the carriage which, when pulled forward, lets thecarriage slide freely into the middle of the typewriter and 'click'there; you may then need to push the right platen knob into theplaten in order to lock the carriage. This may be necessary in orderto fit the typewriter into its case.Serial numbers: beginning with JNumber made: see belowNot a true portable but a 'luggable' typewriter, this simplifiedwriting machine is not to be confused with the. This original Remington Juniorhas three banks of keys, and two shift keys only on the left.
'Itis smaller, it is lighter, it is designed for the simpler uses,'says a 1915 ad. This model was not a market success, and itsproduction was complicated by the disruptions of the First WorldWar. We do not have firm data on production numbers.Remington company serial records say, 'The 3-Bank Rem. Firstmade April, 1914 at the Smith Premier factory in Syracuse NewYork. Discontinued in 1921. After Remington Co.
Gave up sale itwas sold as the 'Century' no. 10 by A.W.M. American WritingMachine, which was controlled by Remington.' The Century, whichstarted production no later than June 1919, includes several majormodifications, such as ribbon spools located on top of the machineinstead of hidden in the back. Ithink the ending date of 1921 for the Remington Junior provided byRemington is actually the ending date for the remodeled Century,which I consider to be a separate design. The Junior was probablynot made past early 1919.The situation is complicated by a few Century typewriters thatare essentially just Remington Juniors with a Century name decal.The serial number on one of them, JH40162, suggests manufacture asearly as 1914, but H is not a known month code.Name variant: Remington J.#1 (Oct.
1925)Serial numbers: beginning with NNumber made: 400,000?Theselittle machines were marketed aggressively and were a greatsuccess. They were the first truly portable typewriters withfour-bank keyboards, and in this category they had no competitionuntil Royal and Underwood introduced four-bank portables in 1926.The 'folding-typebar' mechanism raises the typebars to a 45-degreeangle, the printing position, by means of a lever on the rightside of the typewriter.
The typebars must be lowered again whenthe typewriter is returned to its case. The carrying case issometimes wood or metal covered in leather or imitation leather;usually (as on all subsequent Remington portables), it is woodcovered in black cloth. In 1924 the price of the RemingtonPortable was $60. It was sold in France as the 'Smith PremierPortative.' I thank Mark Adams for sharing his research on the model 1portable. Mark writes, 'My hunch is that factory output was set ataround 9,999 machines per month and attained sometime in 1922.' Heestimates that total production probably reached 400,000, and Ihave adopted his estimate.
'The machine appearing in TypewriterTopics in 1920 displays a letter containing a date, August10, 1920, which is around when tooling for the No. 1 wascompleted. 1 was shown later in October at a trade show.' The earliest Remington portable currently known is Frank Notten'sNC00099 (October 1920). See his story in.According to vol.
1 (August 2, 1926) of The Remport,a newsletter for sellers of Remington portables, 'The RemingtonPortable was first exhibited at the New York Business Show inOctober, 1920. Its manufacture began shortly thereafter but formany months only a limited number of machines were available fordelivery. The first dealership contracts of record wereentered during September, 1921.' (Thanks to Ed Neuert forproviding this publication.)For almost a year, then, production was limited and experimental.This is why you should keep your eyes open for a very early #1,such as the one pictured above on the left.
It appears at firstglance to be just like the later #1 (on the right), but notice thatit has no right shift key. In fact, the early #1 has many featureswhich the company soon changed. The new features were phased inbeginning around June or July 1921, and then became standard on allRemington portables. Today it is quite difficult to find a specimenthat has all the early features. No later than 1923, early machinesalso started to be rebuilt with new parts, making it difficult to beknow whether those parts were originally present. 'That Remingtonseems to have assembled machines from various batches of parts alsocomplicates matters' (Mark Adams). What follows are approximateguesses about the order in which the early features were changed.
The base of the very early carrying case has studs that passthrough holes in the body of the typewriter, and the machine isattached to the base with cotter pins that pass through holes inthe studs; flat springs, one in the back of the base and two onthe sides, help to hold the typewriter in place. There is also alip that runs around the edges of the base. Later machines(starting January 1921 or earlier) are simply screwed to thebase, and the base is flat. The early type guide is a rectangular piece of metal with onerectangular opening.
This was changed to a more A-shaped pieceof metal with two openings. Still later, the piece was widenedslightly and the teeth that guide the type were made slightlysmaller. The early shift lock is separate from the shift key, and hasto be depressed after shifting; shift lock is connected to shiftkey on later machines. The paper table on earlier machines is curved; on later ones,flat and shaped differently (see pictures above).
There is no right-hand carriage release lever on earlymachines. Mark Adams writes, 'On both iterations of the No. 1 (early andlater), metal tabs prevent the shift mechanism from advancingtoo far in either direction. These tabs are mounted to theinternal frame; each tab has two openings — one that holds ascrew and one that holds a pin. 1s, for whateverreason, pass-thrus were added for these screws.'
. Later machines include 'rabbit ears' behind the paper tablewhich can be extended for further support of the paper; earlyones do not. The early machine has no automatic ribbon reverse. When theribbon reverser was added, the construction of the ribbon guidewas improved; it originally was held together with a cotter pin.(To inspect this detail, view the machine from the back and lookat the devices that guide the ribbon on its way into or out ofthe spools.).
Resident evil umbrella conspiracy. On the early machines, the paper release lever is pulledforward to release the paper; later, it is pushed backward. According to Remington serial number records, a longercarriage was introduced with #NC10474 (October 1921). Early machines have a left shift key only. This is the mostobvious sign of an early Remington Portable. Mine has no slotfor a right shift key. However, I have also seen a RemingtonPortable from 1921 with a slot for a right shift key, but no keythere. Mark Adams writes, 'It is evident the No.
1 was destinedfrom the start to have two shift keys, as the internal structureis the same on both sides, with room for a right shift key.' According to Remington serial number records, the right shiftkey was introduced in March, 1922 (#NL20211). Note:machines exported to Europe often had a shift key only on theleft, even into the 1930s. 'Early and later No. 1s have slightly different shiftmechanisms: the early has a rod and a spring, the later has twosprings' — Mark Adams. The printing point on early machines is directly on top of theplaten; the later design moves the printing point slightlytoward the front of the platen. Accordingly, the early shiftmechanism moves the carriage backwards horizontally; latermechanisms raise it up slightly as well as moving it backwards.
The early ribbon vibrator is nickeled and roughly n-shaped oneach side; the later ribbon vibrator is black and roughlyU-shaped on each side. The variable line spacer (a lever on the left side thatallows the platen to be turned to any position, instead offorcing it to move in fixed increments) is longer on latermachines.
The manual ribbon reverser/spool turner on both machines is ashaft that protrudes from the sides. This shaft originally endedin a flat, disc-shaped knob; the later knob is bigger, anelongated cylinder rather than a disc. The line gauge or aligning scale - a triangular piece ofmetal that indicates the bottom of the current line - isdirectly above the printing point on early machines, and waslater moved to the right.
On early machines, the shape of thealigning scale can vary: the opening can be either a plaintriangle, or a sort of upside-down, fat T. The platen knob is thinner on early machines. On early machines, the paper is advanced with a pinch-levermechanism; later machines have a vertical lever which bothreturns the carriage and advances the paper. This is a bigimprovement. (Machines from August 1924 and December 1924 havebeen found that still have a pinch lever, but I think by thistime most had a vertical lever. The December 1924 typewriter,with German keyboard, is serial number NA40004A; the meaning ofthe A is unknown.) Mark Adams writes, 'The pinch mechanism wasdesigned by Herbert Bridgwater, patent US1375772, a careerRemington employee who also designed the 3B.' .
Early ribbon spools are locked into place with a catchattached to the axle; later machines have no such catch, but thespool is held onto the axle by a tab attached to the ribbonguide. The paper release lever on the right side of the carriage isflat on early machines; it is a bent rod later - an odddevelopment, because the later design looks more primitive. The early line spacing selector is a bent piece of sheetmetal; later it is a knob. The early space bar is a little narrower.An unusual color variant of the #1 is black on top and gold onthe sides.
Before colored enamel paints were available, this wasas radical a departure from basic black as you could get. Decalsmay or may not be present. (Pictured: #NM11229, made Feb. 1921.)Another machine to look out for is the Remington Portable #1DeLuxe.
It has an ivory-tone finish and comes in a brownleather case. Available in very limited numbers around 1924, itsold for $75.
(Pictured: NZ30670, made Nov. 1923, courtesy of JimDax.)A further variation reported by Mark Adams is a drab olive green,with green keytops. He adds: 'The green paint was, in nearly allinstances, simply painted over the black finish, which isnoticeable from the undersides of these machines. The standarddecals were problematic, as the clear portions are not exactlytransparent against the green paint.
Remington Rand 1911 Serial Numbers
Often, the decals are in thewrong places, or not present at all. Some decals seem to date tothe 1930s, based on the typeface employed.'
Colt 1911 Value By Serial Number
An example is picturedbelow. These machines were apparently refurbished and refinishedyears after the initial manufacture.