Famous Hammonds

The Hammond typewriter was unique for its time and attracted many notable operators, such as:

King Alfonso XIII of Spain

James Hammond gifted an ornate gold Hammond Multiplex to the King of Spain, Alfonso XIII. Mundo Gráfico magazine (June 3, 1914) described it as “made of gold, specially for King Alfonso XIII” and said that it was “locked up in a precious mahogany box with mother-of-pearl and fine inlaid woods….”

The King also had an Ideal Hammond No. 12 which King Juan Carlos I gifted to the national historical trust of Spain. It now resides in the palace in Madrid, and the gold Multiplex is in the private collection of the King.

Lewis Carroll

Carroll (aka Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) purchased his Hammond No.1 on May 3, 1888. In his diary he wrote: “May 4, (F). Chandler came across to show me how to work the ‘Hammond Type-Writer’,which arrived yesterday.

Inside the cover are the manufacturer’s instructions which is inscribed in black ink: “Rev. C.L. Dodgson, Ch.Ch. Oxford.”

Mark Twain

Twain, born Samuel Clemens, owned a number of typewriters. This Hammond No. 2 Universal is likely a remodel of a Hammond No. 1. It is not clear is Twain wrote any of his work on this machine but it can be found in his boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri.

Helen Keller

There are no records and the machine’s whereabouts are unknown, but we have two photographs of Helen Keller at a Hammond. The company and its founder were committed to assisting persons with sight difficulties to use the Hammond to communicate.

Woodrow Wilson

President Woodrow Wilson was a huge fan of his Hammond typewriters, owning no less than three in his lifetime.

Unfortunately there are no photos of the President at his typewriter, but the Multiplex IDeal is still at his home in Washington, DC, and the Multiplex Universal in green is in the White House visitors center.

Queen Elisabeth of Romania

Elisabeth of Wied, the first queen of Romania, was also an author under the pen name of Carmen Sylva. Here she is with a No. 2 Ideal.

Rafael Merry del Val

Cardinal Merry del Val was a Spanish Catholic bishop, Vatican official, and cardinal. Before becoming a cardinal, he served as the secretary of the papal conclave of 1903 that elected Pope Pius X, some say through Merry del Val’s encouragement. He is operating a No. 2 Ideal.

J.R.R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, English writer, poet and Professor was the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It has been written several times on the internet that he used a Varityper, which at its heart is a Hammond.

H.G. Wells

Herbert George Wells was an English writer and author of works such as War of the Worlds, and the Invisible Man. He owned a Hammond No. 2 of which this photo survives of his second wife using it.

Henry M. Flagler

Henry Flagler‘s contribution to America cannot be understated. As a co-founder of Standard Oil, he is much less known than his co-founder John D. Rockefeller, but it was Flagler who was the brains behind the largest petroleum company in the world.

Mr. Flagler also had a great love for St. Augustine, and it was his tremendous philanthropy that would expand and grow the oceanside destination. Hammond spent a lot of time in St. Augustine and would later pass away there just four months before Mr. Flagler.

Mr. Flagler owned a Hammond No. 1 typewriter and it’s thanks to this letter from the Flagler Museum that gives us our first clue.