When C.W. Seamans died in his Pigeon Cove summer home on May 30, 1915, his obituary in the Boston Daily Globe described him as “one of the men chiefly responsible for the universal use of the typewriter.”
Seamans started his career as a clerk for E. Remington & Sons in Ilion, N.Y., a company known at the time for firearms and sewing machines. Around 1870, the company acquired the right to manufacture the first patented typewriter (and the device that introduced the QWERTY keyboard). Remington began manufacturing the “Type-Writer” in 1873 and then, in 1878, introduced the first typewriter with a shift key for upper- and lower-case letters.
That same year, 1878, Seamans became Remington’s manager of typewriter sales. In 1882, with Remington’s encouragement, he organized a separate company to manage sales of the Remington typewriter. In 1893, that company became the Remington Typewriter Company, with Seamans as its general manager. In 1893, it became the Union Typewriter Company, with Seamans as its president until 1910 and then the chairman of its board.
For at least 15 years before he built this house, Seamans was a regular summer visitor to Pigeon Cove, staying each summer at the Pigeon Cove House. After a January 1903 fire destroyed the Pigeon Cove House, Seamans bought the property where it had stood and built this house, which he called “The Elms.” His obituary described the house as “one of the finest summer homes on the North Shore and a showplace of the town.”
The Pigeon Cove House was located between Phillips Ave. and what is now called Granite St., at approximately the point where Phillips today intersects Lacrosse Ave. I do not know precisely where the house was. I do not see anything there today that resembles the building in this picture.
Seamans was generous to the town of Rockport, according to his obituary. He paid out of his own pocket to have about a mile of the main road through town macadamized — an early form of paving using crushed stone, and he donated an automobile to the town, which the town used as an “auto chemical” — a vehicle used in fire fighting.
Seamans died in this home, just eight days after arriving in Pigeon Cove for the summer.
The postcard was published by Rockport Photo Bureau and printed in Germany. It is not dated. Given the caption describing it as the residence of Seamans, it seems fair to assume it was published before his death. Other markings on the reverse side of the card are consistent with cards produced by Rockport Photo Bureau between 1910 and 1915.