Couldn’t Stand Prosperity

Schwartz, W. B. - 1899-10-17COULDN’T STAND PROSPERITY

An Inventor Too Nervous to Count His New Fortune

Though excuses for all sorts of doings have been made on account of a circus and the circus parade the latest in Indianapolis is something out of the ordinary, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. A story is told of W. B. Schwartz, a lawyer of Indianapolis, who has patented a typewriter having a number of vital and valuable points, going into Fletcher’s bank with a representative of the typewriter trust. The lawyer had a certified check or draft for something like $50,000, which had been given him for his interest in the patent. The check was presented and the cashier began piling out bundles of bills. When the full amount had been placed on the desk the teller asked Mr. Schwartz to count it and see if all was right. He counted awhile, but became so nervous that he could not “check out” the supposed amount in each pile of bills, and finally pushed all back and said: “Oh, I guess it’s all right. Give me a certificate of deposit.” It was done and Mr. Schwartz left. The incident was quite amusing to patrons of the bank who happened in at the time. When asked about it Mr. Schwartz denied being excited on account of the large sum which he had just received as a result of five years’ work. He said it was the circus parade that excited him. Mr. Schwartz is a practicing attorney, living at 1130 Brookside avenue, with an office at 146 ½ East Washington street. He was born in Berlin, Holmes county, Ohio, in 1859, and after attending school at that place and at Pittsburg, Pa., went to Brazil, Ind., where he was admitted to the bar and practiced there from 1889 to 1894. He went to Indianapolis in 1895, and shortly after, on account of frequent use of a typewriting machine, became imbued with the idea of inconvenience of the machines of the day and thought that a “visible” writing machine would be the proper thing. He worked out a plan in his head and finally put it into sketches. His plans were so perfected about a year later that he applied for a patent, which was granted in August, 1896. Not long after the patent was granted, representatives of the typewriter trust began negotiations with Mr. Schwartz for the purchase of the patent. He refused all offers, but kept the trust in tow, and several conferences during the last few weeks resulted in the sale of the patent to the trust. On account of business and personal reasons Mr. Schwartz declined to give the exact amount of the purchase money, and the details of the transaction, but it is understood that he received more than $50,000 in cash and is to receive $3,000 a year until 1901 to refrain from further action connected with the invention of typewriters.

“Couldn’t Stand Prosperity,” Mexia Evening News (Mexia, Texas), 17 October 1899, p. 4, col. 6; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 March 2014).

1 thought on “Couldn’t Stand Prosperity

  1. davidmadison1942

    So much of interest here. Yes, it was a bank draft or check….but why turn it into plies of cash. Why not just deposit the check.

    Nice writing: “became imbued with the idea of inconvenience of the machines of the day.”

    Basically, they paid him to stop thinking about improvements! “…to refrain from further action connected with the invention of typewriters.”

    Reply

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