A lot has changed in how we put words on paper since Christopher Latham Sholes patented the typewriter 145 years ago today. But in a world dominated by e-mail, multi-function printers, and Siri, manual typewriters remain surprisingly popular among collectors and users alike.
Dedicated manual typists maintain that their favorite typewriters, unlike computers, have unique personalities: different sounds, different feels. Stroking the keys of a typewriter takes a little bit more work, but is arguably more engaging than lightly tapping away at the PC.
Using a typewriter may not eliminate writer’s block, but it certainly can reduce distractions. There’s no e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter to tempt you away from your work.
Even Sholes might be surprised by the number of websites, not to mention a magazine and a virtual museum, dedicated to collecting vintage typewriters. Collectors can even call actor Tom Hanks one of their own. He has admitted to having over 200 manual typewriters in his collection.
Do you long to feel the rhythm of the keys as the words flow from your fingers? The Wordsmith’s Manual Typewriter recalls the thoughtful, well-written correspondence of yesteryear. Devoid of technological crutches such as spell-check and deletion, each of its 44 keys requires a firm, purposeful stroke for a steady click-clacking cadence that encourages the patient, considered sentiment of a wordsmith who thinks before writing.
Our typewriter even comes with a handy built-in carrying case. You’ll be the hit of your local coffee shop…and you won’t have to search for a plug.
As we salute the brave men and women who have helped preserve our freedom this Memorial Day, we pause to reflect on how our catalog aided the military through the major armed conflicts of the last century.
It began in 1904, just several years removed from the Spanish American War, when the U.S. Navy began using the Hammacher Schlemmer hardware catalog—with its exquisite line drawings of tools and hardware—as an equipment manual. (Remember, our company began as a hardware store in New York.) The Navy continued to rely on this reference through two World Wars, The Korean War, and most of the Vietnam War. In fact, a copy of our 1000-plus page hardbound hardware catalog resides in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.
After WWI, we received a citation from the War Department (predecessor to today’s Department of Defense) praising our “…Loyalty, energy and efficiency in the performance of the war work by which Hammacher Schlemmer Co. added materially in obtaining victory for the arms of the United States of America.”
The Wizard of Oz has become a beloved classic in households worldwide. Everyone knows the story of Dorothy and her friends, and their magical adventure to find the Emerald City. But did you know the literary history of author L. Frank Baum’s signature work?
This is The Exact Reproduction Wizard of Oz Library, a 14-volume collection reissued by historic publisher Charles Winthrope & Sons. Painstakingly recreating the intricate details of the first editions written in the first two decades of the 1900’s, this set includes original typeface, endpapers, and even typographical errors that were corrected for later printings. The original artwork by William Wallace Denslow and John R. Neill is intricately reproduced, complete with the brilliant full color and metallic inks that were hallmarks of the initial printings.
A 15th book — Little Wizard Stories of Oz — a rare, rediscovered collection of short stories, has been added to the classic collection, all linen-case bound and ready to display with their 3-piece bookend set. Dust jackets for each volume provide protection from airborne dirt while showing a panoramic scene of the Yellow Brick Road.
Reintroduce this classic adventure to your family today, in a way they’ve never experienced before. With The Exact Reproduction Wizard of Oz Library from Hammacher Schlemmer.
The Exact Reproduction Wizard of Oz Library
Friends, at Hammacher Schlemmer, we are proud of our long history. For 164 years, we’ve been offering The Best, The Only, and The Unexpected to our customers.
We would like to invite you to a new feature on our web page that we’ve created to share this rich history with you: The History of Hammacher Schlemmer. From our very beginning, as a hardware store in the Bowery district of New York City in 1848, to our first catalog in 1881, to today’s landmark store on New York’s E 57th St, we want you to be able to follow along on the journey we’ve taken to get to 2012.
Relive Hammacher’s milestones as well as those from U.S. History. You’ll tour the evolution of our catalog, in addition to a century’s worth of advertisements and published media reports. Plus, see a chronology of some of our most Unexpected products dating back to 1896!
Travel with us as we browse through highlights from our 164 years of history on these pages. We believe you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane just as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together for you. We thank you for accompanying us on our journey through The History of Hammacher Schlemmer, and we look forward to offering you more of The Best, The Only, and The Unexpected, for centuries to come!
Occasionally on our blog we will share some of our long history. After 164 years there are many stories and highlights; we promise to keep it short and fun.
It only seems appropriate to start 164 years ago, when Hammacher Schlemmer sold tools and hardware and was regarded nationwide for its quality. “If you can’t find it, try Hammacher Schlemmer” was coined in these years, most likely in reference to our 1100 page fully bound hard cover catalog.
Although our initial focus may have been tools and hardware our reputation for selling innovative and unique products was established. In the years that followed Hammacher’s reputation only grew and during World War I and II we even supplied the United States military with tools. In 1918 Hammacher Schlemmer received a Commendation for War Service from the United State War Department recognizing the “…distinguished service, loyalty, energy and efficiency.”