Corporations: Turn Around at Smith-Corona

To outsiders, the venerable typewriter-making firm of Smith-Corona, with steady sales and respectable earnings, appeared to be doing quite well during the mid-50s. Insiders knew better. Other typewriter makers were diversifying into the promising fields of business machines and computers while Smith-Corona lagged behind. Its dominance of the portable market was being challenged by low-priced and well-designed foreign machines.

Six years ago the directors decided to take a chance, even if it meant temporarily running in the red, on spending money to develop new products and to get a younger management.

Last week, as the company's new 44-year-old president, Emerson...