Skip to main content

Sperry Rand Corporation. Remington Rand Division records, Subgroup III. Advertising and Sales Promotion Department

1830-1975 Majority of material found within 1920-1955
 Collection
Accession: 1825-III

Abstract

Remington Rand, Inc. was a business machines manufacturer, most well-known for its typewriters and operated between 1927 and 1955. In 1955, Remington Rand merged with a major electronics company, the Sperry Corporation to form the Sperry Rand Corporation. The collection contains a large quantity of advertising literature, trade catalogs, and public relations material which the company used to promote its major products, including typewriters, typewriter supplies, record control and storage systems, fire-proof safes, duplicator supplies, punch-card tabulating machines, adding and bookkeping machines.

Dates

  • 1830-1975
  • Majority of material found within 1920-1955

Creator

Extent

30 Linear Feet

Historical Note

Remington Rand, Inc. was a business machines manufacturer, most well-known for its typewriters. Remington Rand, Inc., was incorporated in Delaware on January 25, 1927, as a merger of the Remington Typewriter Company and the Rand Kardex Bureau, Inc. It merged with the Sperry Corporation to form the Sperry Rand Corporation on June 30, 1955. Remington Rand operations were continued as the Remington Rand Division.

E. Remington & Sons of Ilion, New York, began as a manufacturer of sewing machines in 1873. In 1876 the company purchased the rights to manufacuture and sell typewriters from C. Latham Sholes, who had invented the machine three years before. The company exhibited them for the first time at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Sales were slow at first, but during the 1880s the company began an aggressive world-wide marketing campaign, opening offices in England, Germany, France and Russia.

In 1927 Remington merged with the Rand Kardex Bureau, Inc., which had developed the Kardex, the Rand ledger, and a number of other office record control systems. Under the leadership of James H. Rand, Jr., Remington Rand became the largest American producer of business machines and office equipment. Within a few years, however, it began to face aggressive competition from Thomas Watson's International Business Machines. By the mid-1930s, Remington Rand was losing market share to its younger rival. In 1938 it sought new markets by manufacturing electric shavers and later diversifying into other domestic electrical appliances.

The post-World War II move into the computer industry was a natural strategy for a company committed to office automation and represented an attempt by Remington to reverse its long decline. In the early 1950s, the company quickly established a lead in the area by purchasing two of the nation's pioneering electronic data processing companies. In 1950 it bought the Philadelphia-based Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. On March 31, 1951, Remington Rand delivered UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer system, to the Census Bureau. In 1952 Remington absorbed Engineering Research Associates of St. Paul, Minn. The two firms were consolidated as the Univac Division.

Remington Rand merged with a major electronics company, the Sperry Corporation in 1955, becoming the Sperry Rand Corporation. It continued, however, to lose market share to IBM and by the early 1960s was in a distant second place with only 10 per cent of the market. In 1986 Sperry Rand was purchased by the Burroughs Corporation in a hostile takeover. The merged company was renamed Unisys Corporation.

Scope and Content

The Advertising & Sales Promotion Department records contain a large quantity of advertising literature, trade catalogs, and public relations material which the company used to promote its major products, including typewriters, typewriter supplies, record control and storage systems, fire-proof safes, duplicator supplies, punch-card tabulating machines, adding and bookkeping machines. Of particular interest are two files on the history of the typewriter and the history of Remington Rand which include advertisements, letters written on early typewriters, and information on typewriter inventors. The file includes several letters typed by C. Latham Sholes and a letter written by Mark Twain on a Remington Model 1 in 1882. There is also information on Remington's participation in world's fairs from 1876 to 1939.

The advertising also documents the changing image of women office workers between the 1890s and the 1950s. The company history file also contains information on the 1947 motion picture, "The Shocking Miss Pilgrim," in which Betty Grable portrayed Lillian Sholes, the daughter of C. Latham Sholes and, supposedly, the first woman office worker. There is also some information on the role of the YWCA in training young women as typists.

Sales letters and bulletins can be used to trace Remington Rand Advertising strategies. School Dept. records document the company's program of providing materials and curriculum support to typing classes to develop brand loyalty.

Records postdating the 1955 Sperry merger include background research and articles for in-house periodicals and trade journals. Press releases and fact sheets describe new products, particularly the Remington Division's line of copiers.

The collection has been arranged into nine series: Typewriter Division; Remtico Division; Systems Division; Adding, Bookkeeping and Calculating Division; Management Controls (Tabulating - Accounting) Division; Duplicator Supplies; Export Division; Mixed Division materials; and Sperry-Rand Corporation.

The Typewriter Division series consists of four subseries: Historical files; Remington Typewriter Company; Remington Rand Typewriters; and School Department.

Historical files subseries is comprised of records collected by the Advertising and Sales Promotion Department for their history files. The subseries has been further divided into two parts: 1. History of the Typewriter and 2. Remington Rand History. Because the history of Remington Rand is integral to the overall history of the typewriter, there is naturally some overlap in these two sections. Files categorized as Remington Rand History refer solely or predominately to the company.

Remington Typewriter Company subseries includes over 2000 diagrams of keyboards used on Remington and Smith-Premier typewriters (which were manufactured by Remington). The company specially designed keyboards for specific business applications, foreign languages and regional polyglots. Trade catalogs, instruction manuals, sales literature and other materials are arranged by the typewriters they advertised. Records for typewriter supplies manufactured by Remington Typewriter Company are located in Series II. Remtico Division. The subseries contains materials from Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict including W.O. Wyckoff's scrapbook with typing samples dating to 1878.

Remington Rand Typewriters subseries is arranged primarily by product. Included are many trade catalogs, sales manuals, operating manuals, posters and advertisements. Of particular interest are the sales letters and bulletins which can be used to trace Remington Rand advertising strategies. Sales letters and bulletins were issued from the Advertising and Sales Promotions Department to salesmen and district managers. The letters explained the ideas behind individual advertising pieces or groups of advertising, the goals and planning of each campaign and the recommended follow-up by the sales force. The popular history-theme campaign which included a letter written by Mark Twain is part of the Model 17 materials in this subseries. Materials relating to Noiseless typewriters include literature about the harmful effects of noise. A Federal Trade Commission stipulation to cease and desist certain advertising for portable models is noteworthy.

School Department subseries consists of advertisements focused on selling office products to schools and vocational programs. The department reached classroom teachers and students by providing curriculum support materials and advertising in business education trade journals. The company also encouraged students to rent or buy Remington Rand typewriters through special programs. Marketing to schools was an important part of the company's overall advertising strategies since the brand preferences of typists were often developed while they were still in school.

The Remtico Division manufactured typewriter supplies. The main products of this division were ribbons, carbon papers and the Line-A-Time, which held the texts from which typists copied. Brand names include Remtico, Rembrandt, TopFlight, Patrician, Beautyrite, Red Seal, Paragon, Everlasting, Remrandco and Cello-Clik. Products manufactured by the Remtico Division were at times marketed under the auspices of the Typewriter, Typewriter Supply and Line-A-Time divisions. Materials in this series include trade catalogs, displays, product tags, promotional give-aways like eraser shields, sample folders, sales letters, sales and operating manuals, etcirca

The Systems Division produced and marketed record control and storage systems. The division's predecessors included the Rand Kardex Company, which was comprised of James H. Rand Sr.'s Rand Company and James H. Rand Jr.'s American Kardex Company, the Index-Visible Company, the Baker-Vawter Company, the Kalamazoo Loose-Leaf Binder Company and the Safe-Cabinet Company. Many of the records in this series are from these companies before they merged to become Remington Rand in 1927. Safe-Cabinet, whose favorite sales tactic was to capitalize on fear of fire, comprises the largest part of this series. Safe-Cabinet devoted much of their promotions to teaching customers the importance of their records and thus, the value of protecting those records. Series records consist of scrapbooks, trade catalogs, product samples, information about laboratory testing (Safe-Cabinet), sales literature, blueprints, etcirca Products in the Systems Division have also been under the auspices of the Kardex and Safe-Cabinet Divisions.

The Adding, Bookkeeping and Calculating Division series is arranged by product. Records include tearsheets, posters, banners, trade catalogs, sales literature, operating manuals, etcirca Much of the advertising of this division was targeted toward specific industries such as building trades, retailing and insurance.

Management Controls (Tabulating - Accounting) Division series consists of five folders of materials about the Management Controls Division, also known as the Accounting, Tabulating or Accounting and Tabulating Division. The main products of this division were punch card tabulating machines and punch cards.

Duplicator Supplies series includes trade catalogs, sales literature, flyers and tearsheets for Rem-Masters, stencils, and Plastiplates.

Four folders of materials from the Export Division constitute this series. Included are sales literature, tearsheets and trade catalogs in English, Chinese, Swedish and Spanish.

Mixed Division materials series contains promotional materials which advertised products from multiple Remington Rand Divisions. Records include tearsheets, trade catalogs and an Employment Relations Manual.

Sperry-Rand Corporation series consists of materials primarily generated by the Publications and Publicity staff after the 1955 Sperry merger. Records include background research and articles produced for in-house periodicals and trade journals. Many press releases and fact sheet detail new products, especially the Remington division's line of copiers.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

Use Restrictions

Literary rights retained by depositor.

Related Archival Materials note

Sperry Corporation. Sperry Gyroscope Company Records (Accession 1915), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Sperry Aerospace Division Records (Accession 1952), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.



Published materials were catalogued individually by the Imprints Department and may be found in our library catalog.


Additional Information

Additional Description

Provenance

Deposit of Unisys Corporation, 1982

Separated Materials

Sperry Corporation, UNIVAC Division photographs and audiovisual materials (Accession 1986.261), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Many trade catalogs, books and journals from this collection have been sent to the Published Collections Department and maybe be found in our library catalog.

Bibliography

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Sperry Rand Corporation. Remington Rand Division records, Subgroup III. Advertising and Sales Promotion Department
Status:
Author:
Michael H. Nash
Date:
1986
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400