The Hammond Typewriter Company utilized no less than 5 paper rest designs, each time becoming sturdier and heavier, but less elegant. With the Hammond 1 and 2 the paper simply “rested” against a rod, or it could be tucked under to “stay” in place.
The first design is considered the most aesthetically pleasing by collectors, but it was also the most fragile. Assembled with three separate pieces joined together, the three-piece paper rest has a tendency to snap at the joints. It is unknown if this was a common occurrence at the time they were in use, but it is certainly a major source of damage today.
Another issue for the first paper rest was that in order to stay the paper in place, it blocked part of it. Staying the paper was important because the Hammond was not a quiet machine. As the hammer impacts the paper it can cause the paper to vibrate, flapping back and forth.
The next design was introduced with the No. 12 in about 1906. It aimed to solve the breakage and paper-control issues, which resulted in a single length of wire bent into an artful shape, which resembles the original three-piece.
The single-piece design removed joints that could break, but it also had the added benefit of introducing a narrow paper-stay. The top of the design forms a narrow gap through which the end of a sheet of paper could be inserted, and thus held in place. This reduced unnecessary movement of the paper, and in doing so reduced the noise slightly, but not obscuring the paper as much.
Afer the death of the inventor, James Hammond, style and aesthetic began to ebb from the company’s design. The new design did away with the idea of paper resting entirely and introduced a significantly shorter design that focused on the paper-stay function.
For the Folding Model 26 the company brought back a little styling, continuing with a stay, or rest form giving a little height back to the wire.
Then around 1917 the company gave up on style all together and went completely utilitarian, opting for a shorter bar that did away with the paper-stay notch, content to let it fold back over.
As the company moved into the Varityper era, the paper stay become heavier, wider, and more robust to meet different demands and paper.