Thursday, May 26, 2011

The typewriter's story

How many beautiful verses, wise thoughts, thoughtful sentences, long novels and short stories was typewritten on the good old typewriters? The literature accompanied with the sound of typing, endless sheets of paper with a curvy margins and handwritten corrections and comments....

Illustration by Marie Campbell

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’ invention survives.

In 1829, William Burt from Detroit, Michigan patented his typographer which had characters arranged on a rotating frame. However, Burt’s 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.

William Faulkner
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.

Francois Sagan
 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.

Tennessee Williams


  1. Hi there,

    I'm happy for you to use my typewriter illustration, but on the condition that the copyright remains on the image and that you link to

    Thank you.

  2. Hello Marie,
    Hope it is ok now. It is a beautiful illustration, thanks for allowing me to use it.

    Best regards,


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