Hartford 2 Typewriter – serial no. 5193

The Hartford Typewriter Co., Hartford, Connecticut, 1896

Hartford 2 typewriterInvented by Mr. John M. Fairfield, the Hartford typewriter is a beautifully made and intriguing machine. Model 1 appeared in 1894, followed by a model 2 in 1896. Fairfield had already invented the Dart typewriter in 1890. (seen in this collection)

The Hartford 2 has some very interesting design features as follows.

Most apparent, is an extended base for the levers that connect the keys to the type-bars. Upon inspection the reason for this odd design becomes apparent. With other typewriters the vertical key stems (metal rods that supports the key tops) are connected to the levers underneath in different positions, depending on which row the keys are in. With the Hartford, all of the key stems are connected to the front of these levers. So each row of keys, moving from the front to back, causes the levers underneath to be positioned further and further into the rear of the typewriter. This creates the extended base and the distinctive look of the Hartford. The advantage in this design is that each key, with the fulcrum in the same place for all of the connecting levers, has the same feel. A thick cog, turned at right angles, engages an equally thick rack on the carriage. This gives a very smooth connection, with less friction than the standard dog and rack. This is a most impressive solution in designing an escapement. Having three rubber feet (not four) might seem to be of no consequence and yet there is one distinct advantage, this typewriter will never rock on any surface! The carriage has a spring assisted lift, similar in operation to the Rem-Sho. Surprisingly the front of the carriage does not have a rail to rest on, it is cantilevered off the back rail.

One cannot push two adjacent keys at once by mistake, as there is a very clever mechanism under the front of the keyboard that inhibits this from happening.

By the mid 1890s there were many better typing machines available and with the Underwood hitting the market within a few short years, the Hartford did not stand a chance of success. The Company filed for liquidation around the turn-of-the-century but did manage to get one more model out, the single keyboard model 3 with a shift key. Please view the period ads below that show both models.

This typewriter originally sold for $50 to $60.

“Compared with the Hartford, no other typewriter is up to date.”

“Those who pay their money for the NO. 2 HARTFORD have the comfortable feeling which comes to all who receive their money’s worth.”