Fascinating facts about Christopher
AT A GLANCE:
evolution of the typewriter is part of the ongoing history of the human
need to communicate. Gradually a machine emerged that revolutionized the
work of the writer.
Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soule invented the first
practical mechanical typewriter machine.
DID YOU KNOW?
||February 14, 1819 in
||February 17, 1890 in
||noun / type·writ·er
||A mechanical or
electromechanical machine for writing in characters similar to those
produced by printer's type by means of keyboard-operated types
striking a ribbon to transfer ink or carbon impressions onto the
||79,265 (US) issued June
1714 The first patent for a 'writing machine' was given to Henry Mill of
1829 William Burt of the US patented his typographer machine
1868 Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soule patent type
1872 Thomas Alva Edison builds first electric typewriter
1873 Remington & Sons mass produces the Sholes & Glidden typewriter
1978 Olivetti Company and the Casio Company develope electronic
The idea behind the typewriter was to apply the
concept of movable type developed by Johann Gutenberg in the invention of the printing
press century to a machine for individual use. Descriptions of such mechanical writing
machines date to the early eighteenth century. In 1714, a patent something like a
typewriter was granted to a man named Henry Mill in England, but no example of Mills
In 1829, William Burt
from Detroit, Michigan patented his typographer which had characters arranged on a
rotating frame. However, Burts machine, and many of those that followed it, were
cumbersome, hard to use, unreliable and often took longer to produce a letter than writing
it by hand.
Finally, in 1867, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin printer-publisher-politician
named Christopher Latham Sholes, with assistance from Carlos Glidden and
Samuel Soule, patented what was to be the first useful typewriter. He
licensed his patent to Remington & Sons of Ilion, New York, a noted American
gun maker. In 1874, the Remington Model 1, the first commercial typewriter,
was placed on the market.
Based on Sholes mechanical typewriter, the first electric typewriter was built by
Thomas Alva Edison in the United States in 1872, but the widespread use of electric
typewriters was not common until the 1950s.
The electronic typewriter, a typewriter with an electronic "memory" capable
of storing text, first appeared in 1978. It was developed independently by the Olivetti
Company in Italy and the Casio Company in Japan.
Invention of the Typewriter
from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of the QWERTY Keyboard from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Inventions That Shaped World History
by Bill Yenne, Morton, Dr. Grosser (Editor) / Paperback - 112 pages (1993) / Bluewood Books
This book contains inventions from all around the world from microchips to fire. This is a
really good book if you are going to do research on inventions.
Happen: 50 Inventions Discovered by Mistake
by Charlotte Foltz Jones, John O'Brien (Illustrator) / Hardcover - 86 pages
(1996) / Delacorte
Fifty inventions discovered by mistake receive entertaining cartoon embellishment but are
actually serious subjects which will delight and entertain kids.
The Typewriter: An Illustrated History
by Victor M. Linoff (Editor), Typewriter Topics / Paperback: 128 pages / Dover Pubns
Until the publication of very rare, superbly illustrated volume, there were few books
dedicated to the early history of the typewriter.
Quirky Qwerty : A Biography of the Keyboard
by Torbjorn Lundmark / Hardcover: 176 pages (March 2000) / New South Wales Univ Pr Ltd
The renowned typewriter expert's is sure to stimulate enthusiasm all over again, bringing
you new and as yet unpublished insights into the origins of the invention itself in a
detailed history of the machine.
The Story of My Typewriter
(Out of print.)
by Paul Auster, Sam Messer / Hardcover - 72 pages (July 2002) / Distributed Art Publishers
A relationship between Auster, his typewriter, and the artist Sam Messer, who, as Auster
writes, "has turned an inanimate object into a being with a personality and a
presence in the world."
Gramophone, Film, Typewriter
by Friedrich A. Kittler, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young / Paperback: 344 pages (1999) / Stanford
A vital historical dimension to the current debates over the relationship between
electronic literacy and post-structuralism, and the extent to which we are constituted by
ON THE WEB:
Machines to supersede the pen. From the UK Science Museum.
Typewriters in the Office
SciTech, Carbons to Computers series from the Smithsonian Institution.
Practical writing machines became technologically feasible as early as
the fourteenth century. The invention of at least 112 such machines
preceded the successful Remington typewriter.
The First Typewriter
It was called the "Sholes & Glidden Type
Writer," and it was produced by the gunmakers E. Remington & Sons in Ilion,
NY from 1874-1878. It was not a great success (not more than 5,000 were
sold), but it founded a worldwide industry, and it brought mechanization to
dreary, time-consuming office work.
Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame™ honors
the women and men responsible for the great technological advances that make
human, social and economic progress possible..
On March 1, 1873, Sholes sold the rights to his typewriter patent to the Remington
Arms Company for $12,000. The gunmaker perfected the design and began to sell the
enormously successful Remington typewriter.
The first practical typewriter was invented by Christopher Latham Sholes, and was
marketed by the Remington Arms company in 1873.
This virtual museum, that is
based on private collections of antique typewriters from around the world,
is a tribute to their ingenuity.
Office workers today wouldn't be where they are without the contribution
of William Austin Burt, who in 1829 patented the first typewriter.
DID YOU KNOW?:
was buying resistance to the first typewriters, because poor spellers
could no longer hide their ignorance by using poor handwriting
Samuel L Clemens, better know as Mark Twain, was probably the first
author to submit a typed script to his publisher? - he was one of the
first to purchase a Sholes & Glidden typewriter.
The least expensive typewriter, produced in the late 1800`s, cost only
$1, and was appropriately named, "The Dollar Typewriter"
E. Remington &
Sons embarked on a new venture, and in September of 1873, the first
Remington typewriters were produced. In 1886 Remington sold the
typewriter business. This business would later become Remington Rand,
then Sperry Rand.
The type writing machine prototype was eventually sent to Washington as
the required Patent Model. The original still exists, locked up in a
vault at the Smithsonian.
The invention of at least 112 such machines preceded the successful
trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Sources in BOLD Type.