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Denise Loor

April 16, 2014

Project 3
The Typewriter Did What?
Ever imagine how different your life as a student, business owner, or any other profession
would be if the typewriter never existed? After being invented in the 1860s, typewriters became a
necessary piece of equipment use for practically all writing purposes such as letters, newspapers,
and books. The typewriter took the place of the painfully slow and tedious method of writing
with an ink pen or pencil. East Carolina Universitys digital collections contain an artifact of a
woman in 1954 working on an industrial typewriter (see fig. 1). The typewriter developed from
the first patent of the in 1714, through the first creation of mechanical typewriters in the 1800s,
to the electronic typewriters in the 1900s, and has evolved to the computers we have today. The
idea of the typewriter took a long time to process and start developing, and though the typewriter
itself is a thing of the past, it had clearly changed the world and helped pave the way for todays
The development of writing machines symbolized a long, hard struggle, and over 100
inventors of these machines received very little, if any, financial compensation for their extensive
efforts to sell ideas and machines to simplify the writing process. These inventors had an their
mind set to antiquate the task of handwriting. When looking back to the time when printing was
a slow and tedious task, it is pleasing to know that a few dedicated people in many countries at
different period in history completely revolutionized our world of business through the evolution
and development of the typewriter as a writing machine. The typewriter was considered an
important element towards the success of businesses back in the day. It had freed the world from

pen slavery and, in doing so; it saved a volume of time and labor. In its influence on society, the
typewriter had been equally revolutionary, for it was the writing machine which first opened to
women the doors of business life.
The invention of the typewriter started in 1714, with Englishman, Henry Mill. Henry Mil
filed a patent for an artificial machine or method for the impressing or transcribing of letters,
singly or progressively one after another, as in writing, whereby all writing whatsoever may be
engrossed in paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print
(Hokamp). With the patent being so verbose, it is no wonder he saw the advantages of how a
typewriting machine would be so helpful. However, there were no evidence of Mills typewriter
ever being constructed, and no drawings of his project were ever found. (Hill)
In 1801, Italian inventor, Pellegrino Turriinvented, designed and created one of the first
typewriters for his blind lover Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano. To provide ink for his
machine Turri also designed carbon paper (Hokamp). However, no one knows what the machine
looked like, but there is proof of letters that were written by the Countess. In 1829, a machine
was patented by William Burt, which was capable of printing normal letters that was called the
typographer (Mares). This machine was much slower than handwriting, as most of the other
early invented typewriters. This typewriter had a semicircular frame that had to be rotated by
hand, so that only one letter at a time could be shifted into position and printed (Hill). Many of
these typewriters as well as ones made a couple years after were as large as a piano.
In the 1860s, Christopher Latham Sholes had built the first hands-on typewriter in his
Milwaukee shop. This started when his partner, Carlos Glidden, came across and article
describing a machine capable of printing typed letters and presented it to Sholes (Hill). Sholess
first typewriter had little changes to the earlier machines but his machine was bulky with a piano

keyboard. Couple years later in 1868, Sholes and Glidden presented the first typewriter that was
finally capable of printing faster normal handwriting. The second model had a major
advancement which was the organization of keys that permitted two letters to be entered in a
rapid sequence. Before other early models, the typist had to wait until the type bar of the first
letter had returned to the carriage before striking the second key (Hill). This second machine
was sold and lead to the contract for its production with E. Remington and Son, who were gunmakers in New York (Jaines). Remington, was the first model that was placed on the market in
1874. It took almost a decade for the typewriter sales to steadily increase because not many
businessmen could see the advantage of what these machines were capable of. These early
machines were somewhat of a disadvantage since the typist had the inability to view the paper
until the paper was removed from the typewriter, nonetheless in 1883, it changed when the first
machine was built with visible printing (Hill). Though the use of electronic typewriters was not
common until the 1950s, it was first manufactured by Thomas Edison 1872 based on Sholes
machine (Ament).

(Fig. 1 Woman typing on an industrial typewriter)

In the 1900s inventors didnt stop to improve the typewriter. The first portable
typewriter had been manufactured in 1909 (Hill). Gradually from 1933 to the early 1960s more
changes emerged. The electronic typewriter caught on in the early 1940s and many businesses
were desperately fighting to gain an edge in the market. In 1956, inventions came together to
form the electric portable, the term-paper writers best friend (Hill). At this time wordprocessing become a reality with their modern refined equipment. Manual and industrial
typewriters, like the one in fig. 1, were on the decline while electric typewriters with automatic
features increased in popularity. The electric typewriter was so powerful, it could easily strike
through several layers of carbon paper. In an age before copying machines, the electric
typewriter greatly reduced the workload of the average office worker (Kenny). Features such as
automatic carriage return, storage and retrieval, hyphenation, page numbering, correcting ribbon,
and so on. Without all these early developments in the typewriter invention, it would be
impossible for the equipment in the typewriting area to have become so predominant in that time.
Every part of the development and creation of the typewriter is a very important part of
the knowledge and advancement of todays technology, especially in computers. The primary
goal for this invention was to decrease the tedious method of handwriting, though of course we
still do it today; there is no doubt that typing is a lot faster, easier, and very appreciated by many
people such as journalist, business men and women, and students. Typewriters were just as
important to many people back in the day just as computers are today for us. This machine was
especially important for the business world because it brought organization and was easier for
people to read then handwriting. This also brought job opportunity for women to be in the
business field. When invented, Im not sure that the men, who put a lot of their time and effort in

making these machines, knew how much of an impact their inventions made in our history and
the many different professions and ways their typewriters would be used.

Works Cited
Ament, Phil. "Typewriter History - Invention of the Typewriter." Typewriter History - Invention
of the Typewriter. Troy MI, 1. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
Hill, Karen. "History of Typewriters." Big Site of Amazing Facts. N.p., 12 Sept. 2007. Web. 15
Apr. 2014.
Hokamp, Hank. "U.S. History/Industrial Revolution." U.S. History: Industrial Revolution,
Sholes Glidden, Pastor Malling Hansen. N.p., 05 Nov. 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2014
Jaines, Kira. "A Brief History of Typewriters." EHow. Demand Media, 14 Apr. 2010. Web. 15
Apr. 2014.
Kenney, Kim. "History of the Electric Typewriter." EHow. Demand Media, 07 May 2009. Web.
15 Apr. 2014.
Mares, Carl. The history of the typewriter. London: Guilbert Pitman. 1909. Print.
Weller, Charles Edward. The early history of the typewriter,. La Porte, Ind.: Chase & Shepard,
printers, 1918. Print.