Chicago Typewriter Owned by Shipbuilder
By Neal McChristy
He undoubtedly tapped the keys of his Chicago typewriter to keep logs and information about his shipbuilding business. It was, according to his daughter, Berdelle Kines, Callao, Va., "the first typewriter he ever had."
Herman M. Krentz still has not only a Chicago typewriter in working condition, but also has a ship named for him that takes on regular charters in The Chesapeake Bay, the H.M. Krentz.
The typewriter was purchased in Baltimore, Kines said. "He had two or three. He wasn't an expert typist, but he'd find his way. Hunt and peck, you know."
The Chicago typewriter was first patented in 1899. It uses a cylinder called a typesleeve that rotates and shifts to bring the letter into position, then a rear hammer hits the paper against the ribboned typesleeve for the impression. One of its claims was that it was the only typewriter with steel type instantly interchangeable from one language to the other. It had removable keytops.
The typewriter was the successor to the Munson, renamed the Chicago in 1898 and marketed under different names that included the Draper, Baltimore, Conover, Galesburg, Ohio, Yale and Competitor. It was renamed the Galesburg in 1912, with a lightweight aluminum model being released. The Galesburg stayed on the market until 1917.
Krentz (1888-1985) ran a boat yard making skipjack boats from 1935-65. Skipjack boats were used for fishing and oystering, and Krentz also built pleasure boats, his daughter said. The boat yard was located near Sunnybank on the coast of Virginia, later near Harry Hogan, Va.
The Skipjack H.M. Krentz is a 49-foot vessel built in 1955 in the Krentz shipyard, with almost 2,000 square feet of sail. The boat launches out of Dogwood Harbor on Tilghman Island, Md., in the Chesapeake Bay. It is piloted by Capt. Ed Farley. Click here for more information on the Skipjack H.M. Krentz.
Editor's Note: We want to thank Bill Young, who took the photos of the Chicago typewriter and the photo of Berdelle Kines. The photograph of the H.M. Krentz is by photogapher Ray Saunders, courtesy of Capt. Ed Farley.
We were contacted by Richard Pruett of Northern Neck Office Equipment about the story after the Kineses brought the typewriter in for repairs.. Pruett is proprietor of Northern Neck Office Equipment. P.O. Box 2288, Kilmarnock, Va. 22482. The typewriter is not for sale.