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the book:


Hammond 1

First year of production:
Hammond Typewriter Company , New York , USA
Serial nr:

The Hammond Typewriter was the first office typewriter that appeared as a true alternative to the Remington Standard 2. James B. Hammond's invention appeared on the market in 1884. It was a striking machine with several features that would survive for many decades.

James Hammond 
The Hammond Typewriter featured a type-shuttle, a semi-circular strip of hardened rubber (later light metal) that could easily be replaced. "For every nation, for every tongue" was the slogan Hammond introduced to stress the obvious advantage of this machine over the competition's: the use of different type faces.
To print the letter onto the paper, a hammer struck the paper from behind and pushed it against the shuttle, through a thin rubber impression band, the ribbon and a thin shield to avoid getting ink stains onto the paper. The hammer was spring-driven, providing the most even printing result possible in the days of manual typewriters.
 The Hammond 1 split type shuttle

The Hammond 1 had a type shuttle that consisted of two separate sections, each operated by one half of the curved "Ideal" keyboard. Later models (starting with the Hammond 2) used a single type shuttle that remained in use until well into the 1970s (see Hammond Folding).

Mechanically the Hammond 1 showed all the basic features that would still be present on machines built 40 years later. The heart of the machine is the turret with the semi-circle of vertical pins that are pushed up when a key is pushed. At the same time the type shuttle turns and is stopped by the pin, in the correct position for the right type to face the paper. The spring is released, the hammer strikes, the pin drops back and the shuttle swings back into neutral position.

What was not to stay was the beautiful wooden case that surrounded the machine on all sides. The Hammond first appeared in a time when machines were not appreciated for esthetical reasons. Especially when intended for use in the office or at home, machines tended to be hidden in wooden cases and cabinets. The Hammond 1, with its dark rectangular keys and wooden case, was consciously or not, made to resemble a musical instrument, a machine of culture.
The wooden cover was gone already on the Hammond 1 with the straight, QWERTY keyboard, and on later Hammond 1s with the Ideal keyboard, known as the Hammond 1B. (For pictures check the Hammond 1 b entry)

 The Hammond 1 skeleton. (img. courtesy Cornell university online archive)
The first patents for the Hammond Typewriter were granted in 1881 and this year was generally accepted also to be the first year of production of the Hammond 1. However, several contemporary sources indicate that actual production and sales didn't start until 1884, making the Hammond in fact the third keyboard typewriter on the market, after the Sholes/Glidden/Remington and the Caligraph.
C.G. Mares (1909) reports that a small factory was set up by Hammond in 1880, but that four years went by until a series of serious design problems, particularly concerning the typewheel, were solved. Finally production started in 1884, when a small number of machines was produced. Full production started in 1885.
The Hammond 1 with the universal keyboard appeared later. The earliest known sample had serial number 1648. The only known copy of the instruction manual for the Hammond 1b is dated 1890.

See the special feature on James Hammond in the book “Typewriter”, page 120.

Courtesy of: Robert collection


The Hammond 1. The wooden cover removed. Note the turret with the vertical pins.
The type shuttles. Each half is operated by one side of the keyboard. The hammer strikes the paper from behind. The bell is on the back of the hammer. The paper was rolled into the tube and pulled up by twin rubber rolls.