Lucien S. Crandall Typewriter Patent Model

Lucien S. Crandall Typewriter Patent Model

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Lucien Stephen Crandall of New York, New York received patent number 251,338 on December 20th, 1881 for this type-writing machine patent model design. Crandall described his invention as a “design to furnish a typewriting machine of simple and cheaper construction and with a greater range of type, combining upper and lower case letters, figures, and punctuation marks, and working them all with one set of keys merely.” The design had two interesting elements, the first being what Crandall called a “type-sleeve,” which allowed the printing of both lower-case and capital letters. The type-sleeve was covered with raised characters that wrapped around the sleeve arranged so that the most frequently used letters are in the center of the row requiring less shifting of the sleeve. The capital letters and numerals were not activated by a shift key, but rather a laterally-oscillating key-lever (the gold switch on the upper left of the model) that moved the type-sleeve. You would move the switch one way to activate the numerals and punctuation, and the other way to activate the capital letters. The keyboard for Crandall’s machine was arranged in a non-QWERTY fashion.
Lucien S. Crandall held several other patents for typewriters and typewriter improvements. The Crandall Machine Company of Groton, New York was founded in 1879 to produce Crandall’s machine. The first Crandall typewriter was manufactured in 1881, which was said to look very similar to the patent model displayed in object ME*251217. The New Model Crandall was marketed in 1885, and has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful early typewriters ever produced with inlaid mother of pearl in the casing, decorative flower motifs, and its elegant black keyboard (notably two rows and non-QWERTY). Crandall produced two more models, the Universal No. 3 in 1893, and the Improved Crandall in 1895. The company ceased operation by 1899.
Currently not on view
Object Name
patent model, typewriter
Object Type
Patent Model
Other Terms
patent model, typewriter; typewriter; Manual
patent date
Crandall, Lucien S.
associated place
United States: New York, New York City
overall: 4 in x 10 in x 9 in; 10.16 cm x 25.4 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
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Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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