Smith-Corona Marchant Electra Typewriter

This Electra brand typewriter was manufactured by the Smith-Corona Marchant Corporation during the 1960s. This Electra is an electric typewriter with a Dvorak keyboard layout. The popular QWERTY keyboard layout was invented primarily to prevent jams of the type bar. The original keyboard layout was alphabetical and led to often-typed letter combinations jamming the typewriter. Moving these keys to different rows solved this jamming issue. When the Remington No. 2 became popular in 1878 with the QWERTY layout, it began to become an industry standard. The unscientific nature of this layout has led to several variants being developed in an effort to increase typing speed and typist comfort. The Dvorak keyboard was developed by August Dvorak in 1932, placing the most commonly used letters and digraphs on the middle “home” row, with all the vowels on the left. The QWERTY layout requires typists to move their fingers to the upper row, while the Dvorak layout results in 70% of keystrokes occurring on the home row (compared to 32% on QWERTY), reducing hand movement and increasing typing speed.
The success of the Standard Typewriter Company’s Corona model typewriter prompted the company to change its named to the Corona Typewriting Company in 1914. In 1926 the company joined with the L. C. Smith & Brothers Typewriting company to become Smith-Corona. Smith-Corona manufactured typewriters and typewriter accessories throughout the 20th century, becoming Smith Corona Marchant in 1958. After two bankruptcies, Smith-Corona returned to operation in 2010 as a thermal paper manufacturing company.
Currently not on view
overall: 4 1/2 in x 16 1/2 in x 12 1/2 in; 11.43 cm x 41.91 cm x 31.75 cm
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Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Computers & Business Machines
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National Museum of American History


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