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1912 Antique Harris Visible No. 4 Typewriter, RARE

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This beautiful 1912 Harris Visible No. 4 typewriter is such a great piece of history. The pin-striping and glass keys remind me of an antique cash register. This original design of the Harris Visible was developed as early as 1908 by DeWitt C. Harris. He paired up with his brother for finances and another for manufacturing. Alvah Roebuck of Sears, Roebuck & Co. was quite interested in typewriters and had tried to produce machines to be sold exclusively through their catalog. He took an interest in the Harris machines. In November of 1912 Sears, Roebuck & Co. equipped their offices with the Harris Visible No. 4 after testing 12 pre-production machines.

By researching the serial number on this machine, I feel very confident that this machine was one of the typewriters that was used in a Sears office from the first run. The serial numbers for the Sears Office machines began with 20,000 (this one is in the 22,000s). Once the changes were ordered in the production for Sears sales the numbers moved to the 100,000 block. Eventually, the Harris, like the others, failed for Roebuck and he eventually produced his own machine, The Woodstock. The Harris production was bought and renamed numerous times; new designs were developed until the company went out of business near the end of the Great Depression.

This typewriter would be a nice gift for the ultimate typewriter collector, historian or lover of vintage decor. I have found this particular machine (with its low serial number) to be rare according to many informational sites that I have been to (including my favorite: machinesoflovinggrace.com) and haven't been able to find any that are currently for sale online.

This particular machine has what they call a "Fractional Keyboard" with the FIG key and 3 keys with fractions on them. On most typewriters there are only two characters on a typebar, but these have three. The name, model and other words are gold (including the words "Patents Pending" on the back). The pin-striping design has a gold/blue/black/greeen arrow design. Two of the letters and the two CAPs are crooked under the glass in the key as pictured.
Unfortunately this machine had a layer of varnish applied to it at the factory, which has grown wrinkly and yellow with age. This varnish is known to be very hard to remove in order to bring back the machine's original sheen. This Harris Visible No. 4 cleaned up nice, but there is still a lot of factory varnish on it.
The platen knobs have some damage to them (one has pieces broken off of it and the other has a chip) and are missing their rubber rings. There are two cracks in the platen (carriage roller); one is 5" long and the other is 7" long. This does not surprise me because of its age. The inside of the machine seems to be rust-free overall. The typebars or arms have some rust. The carriage does not advance properly, but can be hand-pulled. A few of the outside keys are a little sticky, but none locked up when testing. The CAP & FIG keys worked properly as well. The ribbon spools and ribbon are obviously missing.

This machine measures approx. 14.5" L x 17" W x 10"H and weighs approx. 28 lbs.

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Good Phamily Fun!!


1912 Antique Harris Visible No. 4 Typewriter, RARE


  • Vintage item from the 1910s
  • Materials: typewriter, metal, ribbon, black
  • Only ships within United States.
  • Feedback: 188 reviews
  • Favorited by: 65 people