History Center Collection

Sholes Glidden
Sholes Glidden
Remington Standard No. 8
Universal Crandal No. 3
Blickensderfer No. 5
Hammond No. 12
L.C. Smith & Bros No.5
Corona Model 3
Oliver No. 9
Portable Corona No. 4
Remington No. 7 Noiseless
Remington No. 10 Noiseless
Smith-Corona Skywriter ZY
Typing in Tompkins Online Exhibit

Peerless (1895)

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It may come as a surprise to you that this typewriter was produced in a gun factory! Lyman and Wilburt Smith, brothers from Lisle, New York, recruited Alexander Brown to help them improve the shotgun in their gun factory in Syracuse. While Alexander was working with the Smith brothers, he sparked Wilburt's interest in financing and improving typewriters. By 1886, the Smith-Premier Typewriter was introduced. Its most unique feature was a double keyboard that allowed for upper and lower case characters to be typed. Their product cunningly boasted that there was, "A key for every character!" The parts of a typewriter are surprisingly similar to those of a shotgun, so producing the typewriter at the gun factory was logical and easy. Business was going so well, that in 1888, the Smith brothers discontinued shotgun production and strictly produced typewriters with the help of their younger brothers, Monroe and Hurlbut. And so began the Smith-Premier Typewriter Company.

The youngest brother, Leroy Smith, invented the Peerless in 1891, which greatly resembled the Smith-Premier. It had the same double keyboard with 76 characters and "blind type," so the typist could not see what was being printed, just as the Smith-Premier did. It is an honor to have one of the very few that were produced donated to the History Center (Dewitt Historical Society). Louis Smith, son of Leroy, and former president of Ithaca Gun Company donated the 1895 model in 1946.