The Munson typewriter is a remarkable piece of engineering, with a complex and original mechanical design packed into a small frame. With its inner workings largely exposed, the typewriter comes to life with moving rods and levers when in use.
The Munson does not have type bars but uses a horizontal type-cylinder (about the size of one’s finger) that slides from side-to-side and rotates to have the correct character move into position. Then a hammer strikes from behind, pushing the paper against the ribbon and type-cylinder. Type-cylinders with different fonts were available and easy to switch around.
With two shift keys, uppercase and figures, only three rows of keys are required.
The Munson was introduced in 1890 and did quite well on the market; however, today it is hard to find. The Munson became the Chicago in 1898 when the enterprise was bought and the typewriters were manufactured by The Chicago Writing Machine Co. The Chicago, with some improvements, is essentially the Munson design with a handsome cast-iron cover placed over the inner workings. An early Chicago can be seen in this collection.
“Interchangeable steel type wheel (18 different styles of type)”
“Equally adapted to the business man, the stenographer, the lawyer, the minister or the doctor.”
“Highest Medal Awarded, World’s Fair, Chicago, 1893”