Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The World's First Typewriters

In this age of blinking lights and personal communication devices, we have a strong collective experience towards typing and nostalgia for the typewriter. The QWERTY keyboard, which first appeared in 1874, is remarkably one of the most important communication tools today. One must see these early typewriters to appreciate their beauty and ingenious designs and to understand that the standard typewriter design of the 20th century was anything but obvious to the many brilliant pioneers of this revolutionary machine.

FranklinrnTilton Manufacturing Co. of Bostonrn1892 - serial no.4862rn(Marketed by the Franklin Typewriter Co., Boston)rnrnThis early model is distinctive from later models in having a nickel-plated paper table, an oval name plate under the keys, and the name \'The Franklin\' in Old-English lettering on the curved type-bar shield. The Franklin sold for $60 to $75. ©

Blickensderfer 5rnCreelman Brothers Typewriter Co.rn1893 - serial no.35484rnrnThis example was sold by the Creelman Bros, of Georgetown, Ontario, Canada. They were one of the first shops to sell typewriters in Canada. The Creelman Brothers main product line though, were hand operated knitting machines. The Creelman Brothers letterhead (1895) shown below, features the Blickensderfer 5 and the curved keyboard Williams 1 in the upper corners. The content of the letterhead deals with their knitting machines. This typewriter sold for $40.00. ©

Caligraph 2rnAmerican Writing Machine Co., New Yorkrn1882 - serial no.31194rnrnLike its predecessor, the Remington, the Caligraph is a ?blind writer?, where the type-bars strike the underside of the platen. One cannot see what they have typed until the page has advanced a few lines or one lifts up the hinged carriage to look at the underside of the platen. This typewriter sold for $85.00. ©

Crandall - New ModelrnCrandall Machine Company, Croton, New Yorkrn1887 - serial no.6059rnrnThe Crandall\'s type-cylinder is about the size of ones finger, which rotates and rises up one or two positions before striking the roller, achieving 84 characters with only 28 keys. The type-cylinder is easy to remove, allowing for change of font style and character size. This typewriter sold for $50.00 and $75.00. ©

DaughertyrnThe Daugherty Typewriter Co., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniarn1893 - serial no.1410rnrnThis typewriter pioneered the ubiquitous, 4-row, front-strike, see-as-you-type design, however it would be the Underwood typewriter that would steal the show soon after in 1896 by having the same optimum design features as the Daugherty but in a far better functioning machine. The \'modern\' typewriter had arrived and the early age of invention for the typewriter was nearly over. ©

FordrnFord Typewriter Company, New Yorkrn1895 - serial no.869rnrnThe Ford typewriter, invented by Eugene A Ford (1866 - 1948), broke new ground in being the first typewriter to use the new metal ?aluminum? in its construction. The Ford was sold in two versions, one with an all aluminum frame and carriage and the other with a cast iron, black enameled, frame and aluminum carriage, as shown above. Both sport a beautiful Japanned grill. ©

Hammond 1 - OakrnHammond Typewriter Company, New Yorkrn1885 - serial no.11947rnrnThis striking and gorgeous Hammond 1 is incased in golden oak with solid ebony keys. It is a masterpiece of design and function. The Hammond 1 came in three finishes, oak, cherry, and mahogany. ©

Munson 1rnMunson Typewriter Manufacturing Co., Chicagorn1890 - serial no.1978rnrnThe Munson does not have type-bars but uses a horizontal type-cylinder (about the size of ones finger) that slides from side-to-side and rotates to have the correct character move into place. Then a hammer strikes the paper from behind, pushing the paper against the ribbon and type-cylinder. Type-cylinders with different fonts were available. ©

NationalrnNational Typewriter Co., Philadelphiarn1889 - serial no.4839rnrnThe National has its type-bars hanging down in a semi-circle. There are two shift keys, uniquely moving the whole keyboard assembly forwards and backwards. To see what has been typed, one lifts up the hinged carriage. This typewriter originally sold for $60.00. ©

NorthsrnNorth\'s Typewriter Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Londonrn1892 - serial no.1592rnrnThe North?s typewriter has the rare design feature of having its type-bars stand up vertically behind the carriage. This gives visible typing, with the type bars swinging down to the top of the platen. However this configuration creates a complicated paper-handling situation that requires two ?holding baskets? in the carriage, one for the paper to be rolled into before typing and the other for the paper to roll up into as one typed. So visible typing was achieved but only to the extent that a few lines could be seen before the paper advanced into the lower holding basket. ©

Williams 1rnWilliams Typewriter Co. Derby, Connecticutrn1891 - serial no.1410rnrnThe most distinguishing aspect of the William\'s design was the articulated movement of the type-bars as they traveled to the platen. The type-bars are arranged in two fans on either side of the platen and hop-up and over to the top of the platen when typing. The type-bars, resting on ink pads, were inked when they came back to their starting position. With no ribbon to get between the type-bars and the paper, the printing was very sharp. This typewriter originally sold for $95.00. ©

Yost 1rnYost Writing Machine Company, New Yorkrn1887 - serial no.4248rnrnThe Yost typewriter was the invention of George Washington Newton Yost, one of the key pioneers in the emergence of the first manufactured typewriters. He was a major player in the promotion of the Remington 1, or as it is known the Sholes and Glidden, to the Remington & Sons Company in 1873. This typewriter originally sold for $100.00.

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