Merrit Index Typewriter, ca. 1890
It's a very unique instrument, and it has family history, because it had to do with my father's business during the Depression.
Okay, well, let's take a look. Cover lifts off. And it would have had a handle here, but then this could become the base for it.
I never saw it until my mother and dad had passed away, and we were cleaning out the garage. And of course, they never threw anything away, so it took me a while.
And I found this box, and I had no idea what was in it. And I opened it up and saw that it was a very old typewriter, and my dad had been in the typewriter business. I did a little research on it and saw that it was patented in 1890, and one of the first typewriters.
The evolution of the typewriter is interesting, because, for many years, they tried to get something that really worked. It wasn't really until, like, the 1860s that a real patent came along, and then they really started to mass-produce typewriters. But they were the ones that you are more normally used to seeing with a full keyboard set. But those were very expensive. They could be as much, back in the day, as maybe $50 to $70, right? This actually came after the full-keyboard typewriter. It's what's known as an index typewriter, "index" meaning your index finger, because you would-- you have to do it one keystroke at a time, versus a full set of hands on it. And the reason it came out was because it was cheaper. This is a Merritt, Merritt Index-- can see the Merritt name down here.
The Merritt Index back in the day-- 1890, right about when it came out-- sold for $15, and that was its selling point. But the reality is, because it's an index, it's really, really hard to use, right? So, to...
Well, you don't speed-type on it, that's for sure.
(laughing) Exactly. So it never really kind of caught on. But in the world of typewriter collectors, the less it looks like a typewriter, the more kind of engaging it is. There are certain desirability for this type of thing, especially, you have the original box, which often gets lost. And it's still in pretty good shape overall. At auction, this kind of typewriter would sell for maybe $500 to $700. So I'm psyched to see it here, and I'm glad you brought it.
Well, I was happy to bring it.
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