The Rise and Fall of TypeWriters (Interesting Facts and History of Typewriters)

A typewriter is referred to as a tiny machine. It can be either electric or manual. The typewriter is used to produce alphabets on the paper. Nowadays, due to the advent of computers and printers, typewriters are not used frequently.


Renowned companies manufacturing typewriters are E. Remington and Sons, IBM, Imperial Typewriters, Oliver Typewriter Company, Olivetti, Royal Typewriter Company, Smith Corona, and Underwood Typewriter Company.


History of Typewriter:


The Typewriter machine was invented by Christopher Sholes an American mechanical engineer from Wisconsin. He drew inspiration to invent the machine after reading an article on writing machines in the Scientific American in 1867.


Sholes was born on February 14, 1819 in Mooresburg, Pennsylvania. Christopher Sholes discovered the first useful modern typewriter in 1866. He invented it with the financial and technical assistance of his business partners Samuel Soule and Carlos Glidden.


Rise of Typewriter


After a period of five years of research and development Christopher Sholes and his associates came up with the improved version. It is believed that Sholes manufactured dozens of models prior to attaining a suitable design.


Mr. Sholes did not have the patience needed to market a new product. That’s why he sold off the rights to James Densmore. However; Mr. Densmore did not have the adequate funds to manufacture the machines. So, James Densmore sold the rights to

Philo Remington, a New York based rifle manufacturer.


The Typewriter was then marketed by E. Remington & Sons and named as the “Sholes & Glidden Type Writer”.  The typewriter consisted of a type-bar system with a universal keyboard. This was an innovative feature of the typewriter. The ancient typewriter used the QWERTY keyboard. However, it could type only capital letters.


The Sholes & Glidden Type Writer was a dull, fussy, incompetent machine. It used to jam frequently. In order, to make this machine more efficient, James Densmore came with a solution. He recommended splitting up keys for letters. The letters that were commonly used were split to slow down typing process. In this way the contemporary “QWERTY” keyboard was formed.


The first “Sholes & Glidden Typewriter” was offered for sale in 1874. However, only only 5,000 were copies were sold. Nevertheless, Remington did not lose hope. He along with his team of engineers in the year 1878 enhanced the typewriter machine. As a result there was a huge rise in the sales. This machine was termed as Remington No. 1.  This could type both upper and lower case. It could be done with the help of a shift key. The decorated panels were replaced by black open frames. This began the revolution in the world of typing.


The Remington No. 1 was the first typewriter machine to attain commercial success. The reason being was that it could resolve both of the serious problems in writing machine design as well as the clarity of typescript and the speed of operation.This was the only machine to have both satisfactory printing qualities with acceptable speed. From thereon, product progression was uninterrupted, with the repeated introduction of new machines.


Interesting Facts About Typewriters


  • William Austin Burt manufactured the typographer, a predecessor to the typewriter in 1829.


  • In 1886, George K. Anderson of Memphis, Tennessee patented the typewriter ribbon.


  • The name of the first electric typewriter was the Blickensderfer.


  • IBM entered the typewriter industry in 1944. IBM designed the first typewriter with proportional spacing.


  • Mark Twain was the first author to submit a typewritten manuscript to his publisher.

Typewriter ribbon cartridges


This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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