The SCM Story



<- page 3 of 5 ->





Smith-Corona and Marchant Incorporated

The 1950’s brought an increase in the complexity of operating a business, with rising costs, and increased international competition. Although Smith-Corona had taken steps to diversify and broaden its product line, Marchant remained fundamentally a one-product company. The two organizations were both leaders in the business equipment industry with no direct competition between them.

The merger of these two companies in 1958 to form Smith-Corona Marchant Inc., was the major step in building a strong diversified corporation. Later in 1958, Smith-Corona Marchant acquired British Typewriters, Ltd., considered to have the most modern typewriter factory in England.

The Election of a New President

Following the 1960 Annual Meeting, President Elwyn L. Smith, who had made important contributions to the growth of Smith-Corona for forty-one years, announced his retirement from active management. The Board of Directors elected Emerson E. Mead as President. Although born in New York City, Emerson Mead grew up in Hinsdale, Illinois. Even as a youth, he was a success in business, buying old Model T Fords and selling parts at a profit. While working days at the Union Tank Car Co., in Chicago, he studied accounting at Northwestern University night school from 1935 to 1940. In order to learn manufacturing from the ground up, Emerson Mead became a shipping clerk with American Expansion Bolt & Mfg. Co., Chicago, in 1942. By 1944, at the age of 28, he was plant superintendent.

The following year, having saved $4000, he left the factory to set up his own business. He soon turned Mead Manufacturing, an electrical control and switch company, into a million-dollar-a-year business.

In 1949, he joined Kleinschmidt Laboratories and helped expand sales from $300,000 to $12 million a year. In 1956, the company was purchased by Smith-Corona. Edward H. Litchfield, board chairman of Smith-Corona since 1956 and Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, explained the purchase this way: “We had old management and a weak engineering staff. Kleinschmidt had able young management and some engineering depth. We bought Kleinschmidt, in part, because we wanted Mead.”


When Emerson Mead became President, each of the Company’s divisions had its own sales organization, and administrative management was spread from Syracuse, New York, to California. A decision was made to open a new Corporate Headquarters in New York City in November 1960. The city offered many advantages from both a marketing and management point of view.

Smith-Corona Marchant staffed its new offices at 410 Park Ave with an integrated marketing management team. National sales managers and vice-presidents working in close coordination under on vice-president of marketing represented wholesale and retail sales forces in the field. Engineering, finance, manufacturing, and marketing executives were in closed contact. The Company’s image change rapidly to reflect the new organization.

Photocopy Products

In June of 1960, Smith-Corona Marchant moved into the photocopy business on a major scale by announcing the immediate marketing of three machines, the Vivicopy 9, 12 and 14 models. The move involved a comprehensive program of expansion in which all the company’s facilities and marketing know-how were brought to bear on what research indicated was a virtually untapped market.

All models operated on the diffusion transfer principle utilizing light and a developer for the instant transfer of an image on white sensitized paper. Historically, the major problems with photocopy equipment were emptying and filling the machine with solutions and providing a method of retaining the solution for a sufficient length of time. Many attempts hand been made to utilize bags, pumps, tanks, reserve tanks, and replenisher tanks of various sorts to solve the problem. No development had been successful until the development of the “Tru-Cartridge System” which was introduced in the SCM Vivicopy 12 unit. This new development eliminated solution handling, Also, because there was an additional supply of solution stored in the cartridge, beyond what was pumped into the machine, a much longer solution life was possible – far longer than that afforded by any other machine on the market.

Accounting Machines

Smith-Corona Marchant also entered the accounting machine field in 1960. A line of accounting machines, including the Bookkeeper, the Accountant, the Cashier, and the Accountant with punched card output was introduced. These products were manufactured for the Company by Kienzle Aparated G.m.b.H., a leading West German office equipment manufacturer. Both the Account and the Bookkeeper were made fully automatic through the use of interchangeable, multi-program control panels.