Updates at The Typewriter Database! Williams, Secor, Emerson, Visigraph and More!

Oh, look at the manufacturer pages by last modified date at TWDB:     TWDB-6We’ve been busy this month, and specifically this past week or so, as Tyler Anderson and I took a poke at refining the Williams Typewriter Serial Number Page. Before, it looked like this:

TWDB-1And now it looks like this:

TWDB-2Nice, eh? I’m spending more energy on rebuilding the “Antique” sections of the TWDB now, and I’ve decided on a format for these pages that seems to suit the kind of information I’m digging up. More like mini-history synopsis incorporated with suggested dating information. With “Antique” brands, there’s often a thread that connects several manufacturers together with a specific inventor or group of inventors. This new format does a bit to explore that thread from beginning to end. In the case of the Williams, we now trace the factory and design all the way out to Secor to its ignomious end at Hammond.

Speaking of Secor, I rebuilt that page too:

TWDB-3Now there’s a brand with a lot more time spent in design than the amount of time it spent in production. As far as I can tell, the creditors never even got paid for the sale – Hammond welshed on ’em!

Tyler and I also took a crack at the Emerson page, since he’s recently gotten one:

TWDB-4Who knew that Alvah Roebuck of Sears-Roebuck fame had a hand in Emerson? Who knew that he basically used it as a launch pad for his new design for the Woodstock? Not me until now. :D

I found a bunch of scanned Typewriter Topics issues on Google Books that I used as source for these pages, and from which many of these wonderful monochrome engravings come from (ads, usually). While parsing through one, I noted a nice engraving for a machine I hadn’t seen before, a “Federal Visible”. It looked familiar, though, so I dug out my sources and found that it was basically a Visigraph that went through an ownership change. I looked at the TWDB and found we had nothing on either Visigraph or Federal. That is now rectified:

TWDB-5And, what the heck, let’s add a page for National too!

Untitled-1AAaaaand, because it’s been enough time since my Musicwriter article was published in ETCetera, a new Musicwriter page:


There’ll be more of these updates this year – with the sheer number of sources (86 listed in ref. now) that I have access to, this stuff is basically the low-hanging fruit that the post wwII/Mid-Century used to be until I plucked all the lowest hanging fruit like Royal, SCM, Underwood and the like. The abundance of original engravings is nice too. They make good representative thumbnails. I’m also gathering and linking to the relevant patents where I can (yay Patentbase!) and using more internal links where it makes sense. I hope you like it. (:

Updated: July 29, 2016 — 10:09 pm


Add a Comment
  1. Impressive! Thanks for the update.

  2. The mind boggles at the amount of work you are doing with this. Thank you so much!

  3. Thanks for the impressive amount of work!
    I was off work for a week and did not get to upload a single typewriter (boooo).

    Big thanks for all the work! :D

  5. I love the pictures on those serial number pages.

    I am very grateful for all the hard work you put into TWDB. It is a very valuable source of information (and entertainment).

  6. Hi! Why is the williams type 2 #18148 an outlier?
    I mean, I understand that the serial is in a range that is supposed to be that of a later period but is there any peculiar reason for that?

    thanks in advance

    1. dunno. It’s been awhile since I compiled that page and don’t recall the details. you’d have to dig up “A History of the Three-Row ‘WILLIAMS’ Typewriters” by Richard E. Dickerson in Historische Bürowelt No. 21 April 1988, and No. 22 July 1988.

      1. OK, thanks for the lead I’ll try.


      2. do you know if I can find a digitalised copy of that doc somewhere or where could I ask for it?

        I’ve tried googling but all the results link me to the serial numbers page…

        1. you’ll probably need to contact the IFHB for a copy. it’s from their newsletter: http://ifhb.org/

  7. Thanks again. I’ll try

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