Commodore’s Expansion into the United States
Commodore was founded on October 10, 1958 as Commodore Portable Typewriter Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This post will shed some light on their early expansion into the United States.
Superior Typewriter Company
1957 Superior Typewriter Advertisement
William Purvin began in business as early as 1932 in New York, USA with the founding of Superior Typewriter Company, which would repair and resell typewriters. By 1961, Superior Typewriter and another Purvin company, Herald Square Business Machines were selling business machines through leased retail locations in stores like Macy’s and Bambergers.
George Purvin, the son of William, became acquainted with Jack Tramiel in 1959 through their association in the typewriter business.
In early 1960, George Purvin entered into an agreement to sell Superior Typewriter Company and Herald Square Business machines to Commodore Portable Typewriter Company. Commodore was still only operating as a Canadian company up to this point.
Commodore’s purchase of the Purvin companies
Commodore advanced a loan to George Purvin in the amount of $25,000 which allowed Purvin to purchase the remaining shares of the two companies from his family. Two new companies were formed as part of this transaction: Herald-Superior Office Equipment Inc. and Commodore Business Machines Inc., both in the state of New York in the United States. The shares of the two new companies were owned equally by George Purvin and Commodore Portable Typewriter Company.
The inventory and lease agreements from the original two companies (Superior Typewriter Company and Herald Square Business machines) were transferred to the new Herald-Superior. Commodore Business Machines would act as the exclusive agent for Commodore Portable Typewriter Company for the sale of its products to dealers in the United States, including to Herald-Superior.
Commodore continued to operate the leased retail locations which were staffed by Commodore employees.
The business relationship between George Purvin and Commodore was to be very short lived. After many disagreements with Jack Tramiel, George Purvin withdrew from the company on October 9, 1961 and went on to become a school teacher. He later recalled Jack Tramiel once telling him, “George, you are no businessman. You sell typewriters and I’ll sell stock.”
The Fate of Commodore’s Leased Retail Locations
Commodore Business Machines continued to operate as the main United States subsidiary until the very end, but the leased retail locations they were involved with in the early 1960s were disposed of in 1967.
The initial incorporation of Commodore Business Machines, Inc in New York, USA on May 10, 1960:
Incorporation of Herald-Superior Office Equipment, Inc in New York, USA on June 7, 1961:
Commodore Business Machines, Inc legally dissolved on May 23, 1961:
Herald-Superior Office Equipment, Inc legally renamed to Commodore Business Machines, Inc on 1961-06-07: