Saturday, September 28, 2019

Fox Ephemera and other Miscellanea


Being lucky enough to add a bit more to my ephemera collection this past month, I thought I would take the time to share my Fox collection with you all. Not my actual typewriters, but the ephemera and miscellanea I have been able to gather together or learn about in my time being unhinged about that little ol' Michigan company.

Some collectors like to keep these sorts of things confidential, for reasons ranging from having pride in being the only one "In the Know", or because of the sometimes astronomical cost to acquire certain set pieces, and the associated feelings that come from that. And that is o.k. But I always worry about making sure the world remembers these things, especially because it is all too easy for history to be lost. A single house fire can destroy a unique collection, or a collectors family may not understand the importance of what is left behind when it comes time to clean out a house. One wonders how much has simply been tossed out, never to be seen again.

Anyway, here is my Fox collection and some other bits of knowledge I've picked up.

I'll start off with something that, it turns out, had many uses; the humble "Light Running Fox" medallion. These things are about the size of a penny, and were used in multiple ways to promote the brand. They can also be found used on early Fox portable cases, above the lock.

Pencil Attachment
A little fun piece thrown on the end of a pencil.





Pocket Watch Chain
 I hand't seen anything to suggest these existed until recently. An emblem used as the fob of a pocket watch chain.





Shirt or Coat Button
I'm going out on a limb saying this is for a coat or shirt, but I can't imagine another use. The other emlems I've seen have been standard gray, but this one is unique in having blue coloring added on the outer rim area.



There may be other emblem items out there. They seem to pop up once or twice a year on Ebay, and I'm sure some of the longer term, hardcore collectors have things I've never even heard of. Continuing on with other items.


Spinning Top
Oddly fun to just fling into motion, the Fox spinning top toys were probably also made as pin buttons based on their simple stamped metal design. I think someone found a small box of new old stock, because I've seen them for sale on Ebay and Esty over the past couple of years.





Fox Touch Oilers
Advertising in their own special way, these came with each Fox desktop typewriter sold (via the little maintenance kits). It's interesting to see the minute differences and note how they were probably made; The thin rod was likely inserted into the large back half (still round at the time), at which point the back half was inserted into a die'd stamping machine which flattened it, embossed the words, and permanently adhered the long rod in one fell swoop. Just speculation, of course.




Fox Printing Block
Quite literally by any definition an advertisement piece, this block would have been used on a printing press to make an advertisement back in the day.




Pocket Mirrors
Not a unique concept by any measure (one will often see the Remington mirrors around), these advertisement mirrors are labeled based on the location they were intended for. Collect them all?





 Fox Ribbon Tins
These two ribbon tins (one in blue and one in green) are for the old understrike machines. To my annoyance, I've accidentally let some of the visible machine ribbon tins slip by me so I've none to show directly.




Fox Oil
It seems just about every company had a bottle of oil in their name, and Fox is no exception. I was able to find this bugger on accident, and was thrilled to pick it up with its box. The label was exposed to it's own oil at some point prior, so it's "wet" and won't dry out for years. The box is surprisingly well made waxed "cardboard".




Fox Maintenance Kit
Only by the incredible generosity of Peter Weil do I have this kit (let alone the real proof they ever existed). For a brand that sold tens of thousands of machines, I don't believe I've ever seen another one of these (not that they aren't in private collections elsewhere). Has an ivory colored brush, oiler, and weird screwdriver tool.




Fox Machine Co. Serial Number Plate
Ok, this isn't actually for the Fox Typewriter Co., but a large brass plate that I can totally attach to something I want later down the road? Yes please. This plate was made after Fox left the typewriter company in 1915 and moved the machine company to Jackson.



Fox Copy Stand
Also thanks to the incredibly generous Mr. Weil, I have in my possession a Fox copy holder w/ stand. Usually, one will come across the variant that was meant to attach to the swivel that could bolt onto the machine itself. I've only heard of a few other of these stands still existing. A beauty all its own.



The version meant for the swivel stand can be noted by the different center holder; the stationary stand is meant to go on the vertical rod, the swivel version has the curved arm that can also make it stand on its own on a desk.

Also note the Topeka Typewriter Exchange. I've seen a few other Fox machines with that label on it; must have been a popular stop back in the day.



Paper Advertisements
You may have seen digital copied versions of these elsewhere on this blog or in my book, but here are the real-deals that can be found in my ephemera binder.















Fox Letterheads/Letters
The Fox company went through quite a few different letterheads over its life. Below are some examples.


Either Fox did a lot of business with HH Hill, or Hill just happened to keep all their records in a box in a safety deposit box. You'll note alot of items regarding them are still around in relation to Fox. These first two are not in my personal possession, but I snagged the copies off the internet once I realized I missed the chance to grab them.




The following letters are actually in my possession.Note the various designs present, and that most relate again to HH Hill Brass Co and their damn bells.







Fox Envelopes/Postcards
Presumably Fox didn't just hand deliver letters. No, they were sent in envelopes just like today's letters are. Shocker. Here are some examples (with one from the machine company).




This postcard ended upside down, but I think you'll again notice something oddly familiar at work here.





Other Fox Things
I have in my possession a copy of a Fox desktop manual. Yes, a copy. They are harder to find than the Sasquatch, and I was graciously given a copy by fellow collector Greg Fudacz. Since I did not pay for it nor have the original copy in my possession, I've chosen not to show it in it's entirety. But I have a few snips showing some specific items.

This nice drawing of a Fox adorns the first page of the manual.


You could order visible ribbons! I've seen a couple of these here and there, but they don't crop up too often. In real life, they are very colorful.


Apparently Fox had an attachment to teach students how to touch-type. I have yet to see one.


You could also purchase a word counter! I would love to find one of these, just for the hell of it. Imagine how easy NaNoWriMo would be to track, yeh?


The company also slapped its logo on a generic typing desk. I have seen Smith Premier desks of this type, but did not realize these existed until I spotted it in the manual.



Also listed in the manual, but not pictured in same, were:

Fox brand carbon paper in blue, black, and purple
Fox typewriter paper ($3.50 for 500 sheets, post paid)
Fox padlocks (I can presume these did not have the fox logo or name on them?)

Last but not Least, a Fox Box
I have a Fox machine box in my garage waiting for some TLC to clean it up and fix some wood problems it has, but I also snagged some pictures off the web awhile back when one went up on the German Ebay. I believe my box to be an older style, with more traditional logo-work on it. 






Miscellaneous Miscellanea

The final topic of note, I have previously seen that some specific Fox carriages have on them the name of William Fox behind the platen.

I also forgot about the spare carriage I have (which you may have seen on this blog before). Ta-da!



Ok, I think that's all I've got for now. I hope you've enjoyed this random, spasmodic walk through Fox stuff.

3 comments:

  1. I feel sure you must have the world's best collection of Fox ephemera--thanks for documenting it so well here!

    My personal favorite is the printing block. The "shirt or coat button" looks like a cufflink to me.

    One of the endearing things to me about Fox Typewriter is that their foxes never look quite like a real fox. They're all off in some way--most commonly, the eyes are too close together and the snout is too small and narrow--and bring to mind those 18th century engravings of exotic animals that the artist may not have actually seen!

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  2. Wowser, that's an extensive collection - glad that you're willing to let people see it (:
    I'm pleased to see that word counters were an available accessory, and a photo of what they looked like. It confirms my theory about some third party hardware and mounting points that came on one of my Corona 4 machines - that word counter lever would slot right into the hardware that survives.

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  3. That's a Fox museum, right there! Very impressive amount of company materials, it really illustrates the breadth of these companies - beyond the typewriters.
    The oiler-sticks are neat, can imagine it's very useful to have a long stick (as opposed to the short pin in the screw-cap of some tubes).

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