National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Mechanisms Search this
0.3 Cubic feet (1 box )
Chiefly correspondence of John E. Watkins, a key organizer and officer of the Philadelphia Typewriter Company.
Scope and Contents:
The records contain correspondence chiefly of John Elfreth Watkins, a key organizer and officer of the company. Watkins was also a curator of Transportation at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and later "accepted a salaried position…building up the technological collections pertaining to the transportation industry." The correspondence also concerns the organization and operation of the Philadelphia Typewriter Company.
Biographical / Historical:
The Philadelphia Typewriter Company was organized July 25, 1886, to manufacture typewriters designed by Byron A. Brooks. A year later, he sold his shares to the Philadelphia Typewriter Company (then under the management of John Elfreth Watkins, president, and John C. Edwards, both of Washington, D.C.; William H. Travis, secretary; and Edward F. Smith, treasurer, both of Philadelphia, Pa., and Cyrus Adler of Baltimore, Md.). They organized and operated the Philadelphia Typewriter Manufacturing Company, which was briefly called the "Moto-Cycle Manufacturing Company."
According to C.P. Keane and J. Emmerick, eds., "Marvyn Scudder Manual of Extinct or Obsolete Companies" (Vol. I, p. 968), the Philadelphia Typewriter Company went out of existence in 1900 when its stock lost its value.
Watkins was later a curator of Transportation at the Smithsonian Institution; he "accepted a salaried position...building up the technological collections pertaining to the transportation industry." (Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. XIX, 1936, p. 539.)
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