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According to the City of New York’s Municipal Archives, the Hammond Typewriter Company “merged out of existence” on January 20, 1922. It was then reformed in Delaware immediately thereafter. In 1933 Ralph C. Coxhead purchased the Hammond company, renaming it on May 3rd, 1947 to the Ralph C. Coxhead Corporation. After Mr. Coxhead passed away in 1951, it was then changed to the Vari-typer corporation on September 22, 1956 and eventually combined to simply Varityper.
The Varityper is a curious machine in the world of typewriters, particularly electric typing and composing. Coxhead introduced a number of improvements to the Hammond, some say over 1,000 of them, and it held a place in the office until 1970 when the company closed for good. It played a role in the drawn out strike of newspaper composing room employees in Chicago. The Varityper replaced newspaper type cast from hot lead into something easier to use, and faster.
What’s also notable about the Varityper is that underneath all that complex features, it is still very much a Hammond. The shuttles are notable because they were made out of metal. On some later Hammond Multiplex’s, a Varityper shuttle will work, but it may not on early models. It’s a mystery when the official change over, from rubber to metal shuttles, took place.
The Varityper became the composing machine of most advertising, news, and print offices across America. For example, later Varitypers could change the width between letters, justified margins, and increase or decrease the impression with the turn of a knob.
The style and number of shuttles expanded considerably, bringing new fonts and characters, such as a check writer!