Off Topic Wednesday.

1880’s Typewriter

The first typewriter patent was given to Christopher Lathom Sholes in 1868.

However, it was an expensive acquisition for a business and required training and expertise to be a viable asset to an office or company.

So, necessity being the mother of invention, sometime in the 1880,s The American Typewriter Company produced the Typewriter No. 1, a cheaper and simple to use option.

This example is near complete, missing only the strip with the letters/numbers. Apparently that strip was made of a cloth like material and has been prone to deterioration and few of these seem to be found with this part.

The curved strip at the top edge was printed with the letters, numbers and punctuation marks. The pointer would be moved from letter to letter. I believe the thumb knob at the far left was a space bar and thumb knob below the pointer was something like a Caps Lock/Num Lock, to change from letters, numbers and punctuation.

7 thoughts on “Off Topic Wednesday.”

    1. The back story, should you care to hear it, I was at an auction house a fer ways up the road previewing an upcoming auction.
      There was a lot full of old, heavy metal items, pipe wrenches, old wood handle screwdrivers, awls and the like.
      I was digging around in the box and came across what I realized was a very old typewriter platen. I figured a collector or someone who restored old typewriters would probably be glad to get this piece.
      Thus, I decided to bid on the lot, figured some good ol’ boys would give me a few bucks for the tools.
      I won the lot, maybe $15 – 25. Low and behold I found all the parts to repuild the whole damn typewriter! And, also found, in pieces, an old, cast iron Bull Durham Tobacco counter weight scale from an old tobacconist shop. Also near complete. It’s missing the tray.
      And, now you know the rest of the story.

      1. That’s amazing! Oldest typewriter I have was given to me by one of my sons-in-law. It was his Grandmother’s, an old Royal. It still works, mostly. Probably needs a thorough going over and I did once look and you can still get ribbon.

        Which reminds me. On a site where I’m a regular commenter, I posted this week’s Horizon feature and one of the other commenters signed up here. Her prize collection? Ribbon canisters.

        That would make a great Off Topic Wednesday post. I’ll see if I can’t get her to contribute.

        1. Nice. Probably gonna be a slow process building up members. I have a few ribbon tins. They are beautiful. What a odd utilitarian thing to make pretty. Maybe to catch the eye of the secretary when she was reordering supplies? Dunno. But, I’d like to see her collection. Keeping with the ‘Writing Implement’ theme, I think I’ll feature my pen collection next wednesday.

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