Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Evolution of the Tower Portable Typewriter 1959-1964

While it seems like a short amount of time, many changes were made to the design of Sears typewriters between 1959 and 1961. Before 1959, Sears typewriters resembled Smith-Corona typewriters that were slightly changed. By 1959, Sears typewriters took on a new identity, with new space-age styling. Their ribbon covers stayed the same, but they received larger knobs, a larger space bar, and a new lower-body, that was more angular than the previous generation, which had a lower body that was identical to that of the Smith-Corona Silent-Super.

1959 Sears Christmas Catalog page, courtesy of Notice the curved ribbon cover, and carriage surround.
 By 1961, the ribbon cover had been changed to a more angular design, with a curved facing. The President XII was renamed "Constellation," and the two-tone color schemes were redesigned. By 1962, a new model, the Citation 88 was introduced, and the chrome-laden carrying case of the  1958-1961 Tower President XII and Constellation models had been replaced with the case that is most familiar to collectors. Known by Smith-Corona as the "Trimline" case, it had a small chrome band in the middle. The case was covered in black or brown vinyl. 
My 1961 Tower Constellation (Nick Bodemer Collection)

1962 Sears Christmas Catalog page, courtesy of
Late in 1962, the carriage surround was changed from the 1950s-era metal surround that was seen on the Silent-Super, to the 1960s-era plastic surround that was seen on the Galaxie. This feature would remain unchanged until the mid-1970s, when Smith-Corona stopped making typewriters for Sears. In the 1964 catalog below, the Constellation has been replaced by the Sears President 12. This typewriter was painted black, with a brushed stainless steel front panel, similar to that on the Tower Constellation. It was the first Sears typewriter to offer Changeable Type. Mechanically, it is a Smith-Corona Classic 12.
1964 Sears Christmas Catalog page, courtesy of


  1. hi I'm lulu I have a tower constellation from the sixtys and am looking for a manual if you have any information it would be most helpful

  2. my emalai is hi I'm lulu