.Davis Typewriter Works

.Davis Typewriter Works

Monday, February 21, 2022

Annie L. and the Annell


The Annell typewriter (perhaps, properly written as Annell') has remained an enigma for collectors of antique machines for many years.  Serial numbers of surviving machines tell us that not more than about a thousand of these were built; advertisements tell us that the machine was only on the market for about a year, meaning that sales must have been incredibly slow.  

Physical examination of Will's Annell years ago (available in detail on our YouTube channel) revealed that the Annell is in fact a new frame, top deck and carriage assembly into which were inserted Woodstock Typewriter Company components that match up with known models No. 3, No. 4 and even No. 5.  Oddly, the trade papers of the day stated that the Annell was "the Woodstock No. 4" (paraphrase) sold by mail order but the important thing to note here is that the No. 4 was off the market for years before the Annell appeared. 

A new and startling discovery has been made; the Annell Typewriter Company's incorporating Chairman was none other than Richard W. Sears II, then Chairman of the Woodstock Typewriter Company.  As to the name of the machine;

Thus, "Annell" was a spoken contraction of "Annie L."  The firm was incorporated out of a bank in Chicago, although its headquarters were later moved to Ohio Street in Chicago.  The above cut of text comes from the 1922 edition of Business Equipment Topics; evidence of incorporation comes from Moody's and other sources published at the time.

We continue to research machines that we've covered before in order to determine how the thousands of documents uploaded to the net daily might help us; what's still totally unclear is why Woodstock would attempt this mail-order-only effort with a machine priced essentially the same as the normal Woodstock.  The desire to clear out a backlog of No. 3 and No. 4 parts seems a tempting assumption, but in point of fact the date of release of the Annell makes that seem a stretch.  Unscrupulous though it would have been it seems far more likely that the Annell actually contained traded-in No. 3 and No. 4 parts placed in a new frame so as to legally constitute a "brand new machine," but the details presently available are insufficient for proof.  

Collectors and researchers are sure to continue to find the Annell fascinating, and hopefully once in a while we'll now refer to this machine as the "Annie L"!