The Pearl is a beautiful index typewriter with a handsome celluloid dial for selecting the characters. It only typed in uppercase characters.
The inventor of the Pearl typewriter, Theodore W. Searing of New York, N. Y., states his intentions for its design, “… its object being to make the operation of the machine automatic by the action of one key and cause a direct movement of the type characters against the paper destined to receive the impression.”
Despite his success with these two goals, the Pearl did not sell well. On its wooden box (seen below) is written ‘The Pearl, a Practical Typewriter, only $5.00’.
From an 1892 advertisement, the Pearl is touted as a good business venture for prospective sales agents.
“A Profitable Business on limited Capital – THE PEARL TYPEWRITER! – For business and private correspondence. Simple, durable, accurate. Not a toy, but a practical machine. Does not get out of order. No practice required to operate it. Price $5.00. A responsible agent wanted in every town, to whom liberal inducements will be made.”
Despite the optimism, The Pearl Typewriter Co. was out of business within about a year. The first two advertisements (1893) seen below show a selling price of $5.00. By 1898 the last two advertisements show the reduced price of the Pearl on the secondary market passing through $3.50 to only $1.98.
Two very rare Pearl letterheads are shown below. The first is from Mr. Delacy F. Hoxi, president of the Pearl Typewriter Company, and it is dated one day before the Pearl’s patent was granted. The second letter, also from Mr. Hoxi, speaks of an advertisement for “An experienced and practical machinist as Forman, willing to invest $500”. (Both letters courtesy of the Peter Weil Archive)