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12-4-2018 12:52:12  #1


Sears Typewriters

Greetings All

​Every now and then, a forum member will ask a question about a Sears typewriter. The question then becomes; "Who made the typewriter". Sears didn't make things, they just re-branded them and marketed them. After some research, I have compiled a list of the 3 digit prefix that Sears used to identify the machine manufacturer. If you have or come across a Sears branded typewriter and want to know who actually made it, this should help:

114 = Royal
161 = Nakajima
268 = Brother
​334 = Commodore
468 = Imperial
583 = Remington
603 = Olivetti
704 = Royal
757 = Imperial
871 = Smith-Corona

​These numbers cover the main brands and the classic typewriters. There are also a few other numbers for manufacturers who may have made some of the newer style electronic daisy wheel typewriters:

289 & 575 = Sharp
562 = Toshiba
832 = Xerox
864 = Zenith

​I've tried to be as thorough as I could in my research, but there may be a manufacturer or two I've missed. If you know any additional Sears prefix numbers for typewriters, please feel free to add them. All the best and happy typing,

Sky

 

12-4-2018 13:25:12  #2


Re: Sears Typewriters

Great stuff!

One number that I know off hand that you can add to your list is 405 = Messa.

I will of course have to check the others against the few Sears machines I own.  Collectors, in most cases, would be able to tell a Sears model's manufacturer based on its appearance, but I can see your list being a big help to newbies who aren't familiar with numerous manufacturers.


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

18-4-2018 23:28:10  #3


Re: Sears Typewriters

And a couple more;

302 = IBM
586 = Panasonic Office Equipment

​I saw a Marx toy typewriter rebranded as Sears, but can't find any further information on the unit. Suspect the Sears number was most likely on the cardboard box.

All the best,

Sky

     Thread Starter
 

19-4-2018 10:45:15  #4


Re: Sears Typewriters

Where would these numbers appear? On the packaging and/or literature? I'm assuming these aren't serial number prefixes, or are they? (Are there other serial number codes to denote Sears, I wonder?)

Sears wasn't ever considered "classy" but they sold high quality stuff made by excellent manufacturers.

 

19-4-2018 11:57:08  #5


Re: Sears Typewriters

Fleetwing wrote:

Where would these numbers appear? On the packaging and/or literature? I'm assuming these aren't serial number prefixes, or are they? (Are there other serial number codes to denote Sears, I wonder?)

Sears wasn't ever considered "classy" but they sold high quality stuff made by excellent manufacturers.

These numbers are part numbers and they appear on the actual Sears products larger than hand tools and in their related literature, like manuals and catalogs. It is not a serial number. A Sears part number consists of a three-digit number, followed by a (usually) five-digit number. The 3-digit prefix denotes the manufacturer and the rest is the item designator. This list that is being assembled here in TT should help us a lot in understanding the typewriters we acquire. The same numbering scheme was used throughout the Sears company, like lawn mowers, sewing machines, refrigerators, etc. This simple scheme would allow Sears to source from up to a thousand manufacturers and get up to 100,000 distinct products from each one.
Usually Sears products were farmed out to manufacturers that were good at what they did and were often either designed or modified to Sears specifications, often making them better than that manufacturer's regular lines.

 

19-4-2018 12:44:18  #6


Re: Sears Typewriters

Too bad we can't walk into Sears and order those parts anymore!

 

19-4-2018 20:18:42  #7


Re: Sears Typewriters

Fleetwing wrote:

Where would these numbers appear?

​The Sears model numbers were on a sticker that was added to the machine:
https://i.imgur.com/xTWceqa.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/G1SZgfw.jpg


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

19-4-2018 20:25:56  #8


Re: Sears Typewriters

Totally unrelated, but I found it interesting that Roebuck was among the up and coming wealthy guests mentioned at Gatsby’s pary in Fitzgerald’s book.  He also included other real life people like the Ismays.


Typewriter collector and repair geek
 

24-4-2018 04:39:37  #9


Re: Sears Typewriters

Skywatcher, great research.  I knew "of course" that Sears machines were rebranded Smith Coronas, but I knew only a small piece of it. Possibly the Tower models are all Smith Corona, and I've always felt that the rebranding was an improvement in the external design: the Tower machines look sharper than their Smith Corona equivalents.

 

Today 09:07:18  #10


Re: Sears Typewriters

Thanks for sharing skywatcher!

I have a Sears President 12 (model number 871.2500) that I can't seem to find the year of manufacture.  The serial number is S6LP106323.  Can anyone help me with this?

Thanks in advanced,
-Kyle

 

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