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the smith-corona galaxie deluxe jeweled escapement: marketing is everything // canvas print



the smith-corona galaxie deluxe jeweled escapement. one of the greatest bullshit marketing campaigns in the history of mad men. why? because there is no jewel in the escapement. dig into your galaxie machine to see for yourself.

(jeopardy music)

welcome back. in 1959 smith-corona launched the latest series of their indestructible typewriter mechanism in a new body called the galaxie. the serial numbers now began with a 6 but it was essentially the same machine as the 5 series which began in as the 2 series in 1938 and was manufactured through the 6 series into the 1980s. this mechanism was placed in a larger body with a decidedly american muscle car look, predating that automotive trend by a good six years. surely it was made to evoke space age symbolism, being named galaxie, yet it looks more like a 1968 dodge charger than any NASA product.

having no idea the 1968 charger would ever exist, the smith-corona marketing team went to work in 1964 and said, "hey! let's liken the galaxie to a fine swiss watch but not actually make it like a fine swiss watch. cha-ching!" and the corporate executives agreed, lies are good. the "jeweled escapement" was created with the release of the galaxie II. to promote this idea, smith-corona created paper weights in clear acrylic which housed the escapement wheel -- a glorified gear -- attached to a bracket by a cylinder (the main bearing) from the center of the gear. the bracket had a hole inside which housed a donut-shaped "jewel," a synthetic sapphire first invented in 1902.

here's a snippet from the new york times financial section, august 19, 1964; “the jeweled main bearing is similar to mechanisms in watches and other precision instruments. it regulates the motion of the carriage. the jeweled element reduces friction and resists corrosion.”

the "jewel" in watches is used to reduce friction while eliminating the need for lubricant. in the galaxie typewriter, it does not really exist.

because what was sent out in promotion was not what was inside the machine. instead, a simple rubber grommet was placed where the "jewel" was alleged to reside.

but that etched crown and faceted plastic "jewel" on the escapement cover sure is purty ta look at, huh? marketing is everything.

this canvas print originated from a photograph of my 1968 galaxie deluxe. it has been enlarged and treated with photshop filters to give it a "clipped from an old magazine" look. the vivid, fade-resistant print looks fantastic and is one you're bound to fall in love with.

• acid-free, PH-neutral, poly-cotton base
• 20.5 mil (0.5 mm) thick poly-cotton blend canvas
• canvas fabric weight: 13.9 oz/yd2(470 g/m²)
• fade-resistant
• hand-stretched over solid wood stretcher bars
• matte finish coating
• 1.5″ (3.81 cm) deep
• mounting brackets included

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