L.C. Smith Gun Co., Syracuse, New York, 1889 – serial no.7117

Front view of the Smith Premier 1 typewriter.
The Smith Premier was the most advertised and successful double keyboard typewriter of its time. A double keyboard is required as each key has only one function, white keys for lowercase and black keys for uppercase and figures.

Model 1 is distinguished from later models by its exquisite, nickel-plated, embossed pattern on the frame.  You can see close up views of this spectacular design in the detail images below.

While other typewriters linked their keys to type bars with levers that rocked up and down, the Smith Premier uses a system of turning rods to transfer the motion from the key to the type bar. Pressing each key rotates a specific horizontal rod, running the entire length of the machine. At the back end a small lever, connected to the rod, pulls down on the type bar above. This unique design of transferring motion from the keys to type bars gives a very smooth and responsive touch for the typist.

It sold for $100, in line with many keyboard typewriters of the day. In comparison, a horse-drawn carriage cost around $60 and a finely engraved rifle was $35.

“The pen is mightier than the sword but the Smith Premier typewriter bends them both”