There were hundreds upon hundreds of various typewriter makers producing countless numbers of models which easily ranked in the thousands. Yet, with all that metal being cast, very few designs were actually successful and even fewer reached icon status. Such masterpieces included Thomas Oliver’s Iron Butterfly, Wagner’s Standard, Sottsass’ Valentine and, this, Otto Petermann’s Corona No.3 Folding Typewriter.
It was sleekly engineered, came in cool colors, and folded up into a compact square that you could hold with one hand. You could use it on a train or a plane, or in a café in Paris to tap out a novel. The first Mac laptop? No, it was the Corona 3 Portable Typewriter invented in 1912.. It was the most popular model of typewriter ever made—selling over 700,000 in 30 years.
The Corona Typewriter Company of Groton, New York marketed the Corona III as “the personal writing machine.” Before that, typewriters were viewed solely as a complicated cast iron fixture on a secretary’s desk. But the Corona was an entirely new breed of typewriter. It folded in half, came in a leather carrying case and weighed a mere six and a half pounds (the weight of the first MacBook). At $50, it was affordable to an individual consumer—much like a portable gramophone.
Ernest Hemingway loved his, so did Teddy Roosevelt. His first wife, Hadley Richardson gave him a Corona 3 for his 22nd birthday on July 21, 1921. He took it with him when he sailed to France in December 1921.
He later said that the only psychiatrist he had ever submitted to was his “Corona 3.”