Wednesday, June 5, 2013

All About the Smith-Corona Skyriter

In 1940, Henry Avery, Joseph Barkdoll and Lionel Evans filed a patent for a compact portable typewriter. The patent number 2218736, became the Corona Zephyr. The Zephyr was the lowest-priced Corona typewriter. (It cost $29.75, and was in the same price range as the Remington Remette. Unlike the Remette, the Zephyr has a warning bell at the end of each line.) 
Seattle Times ad for Corona typewriters from September 8, 1940. The Zephyr is on the left.
Production of the Zephyr ended in July, 1942, when all typewriter plants were converted to manufacture weapons for the war effort. The Zephyr was redesigned around this time to the design we all know and love--the Skyriter. Production started in 1949.

This full-page ad ran in The Seattle Times on June 8, 1950. It was the first ad for the Smith-Corona Skyriter, and one of the first for Northgate Mall, which has the distinction of being the first shopping center (in the United States) to be called a "Mall". The Bon Marche was the anchor store of Northgate. It is now a Macy's store, but remains largely original inside.
Originally, the Skyriter featured a snap-on metal lid. By 1956, with the introduction of the 3-Y series, many Skyriters had vinyl cases. Around 1957, the familiar green "Colorspeed" keyboard had given way to white keys. On the original Skyriters, the Smith-Corona logo was made of metal. Most Skyriters have a plastic logo. After 1960, Skyriters were made in England. These typewriters have a smooth dark gray body, and came in a black vinyl case with a red interior. Around 1964, the Skyriter was replaced by the Smith-Corona Corsair.
My 1959 Skyriter, with the inevitable paint loss caused by use of the space bar.

The square holes serve as a reminder that this typewriter design originally called for a snap-on lid.
The vinyl case that it comes in. It looks even more like leather in person!

No comments:

Post a Comment