Pterotype Anyone?

Crystal_Palace_-_Queen_Victoria_opens_the_Great_Exhibition
Pat here:

I’m really digging into this Victorian research. I had the Regency era down, all the books and websites bookmarked, so I only had to hunt weird little things. But the Victorians. . . they were a busy lot. While society itself became very conservative, following the path set by Queen Victoria, science and industry proceeded full speed ahead. The Great Exhibition in 1851 was just a sample of Rice_MagicintheStars600what was to lie ahead. Since my Malcolm characters have always been non-traditional females (all the way back to their Celtic origins and to being called witches in every century), I don’t worry too much about the staid position of most Victorian females. Note that “most.” More progressive women demanded the vote, better education, and set up nursing and charitable organizations that were models for the changes to come—not all were imitations of the queen.

But social change isn’t my purpose in the current opus—scientific inventions are. I’m writing about a hero who developed parts for the growing railroad industry (see my prior blog). He made a fortune, and now tinkers with any idea that catches his interest. Aside from beating up the heroine’s bicycle, he’s trying to create a working keyboard for Pterotypewhat he’s calling a pterotype.

As far back as 1575, men attempted to develop machines that could print without setting type. In 1714, a Henry Mill applied for a patent for a machine that does what a typewriter does, but one assumes it had flaws since it disappeared without making a mark in scientific annals. The Italians gave typing machines a hard run in the early 1800s. Fantorini had a model developed to help his blind sister to write, but none of these machines could work as fast as a person could write—or presumably a typesetter could set type.

Giuseppe Ravizza spent 40 years of his life in the 1800s working on what he called a scribe harpsichord. By 1847 he had a model with a keyboard resembling a piano. His 1855 patent was the basis for every model that followed, leading to today’s machines. Invention apparently pays as badly as crime since he didn’t receive credit for it—which is why my hero invests the income from his initial successes. My guys aren’t into starving in cellars.

By the middle of the 1800s, communication was huge business. We had telegraphs to send short messages long distances, and stenographers to take dictation as quickly as we could speak, but everything was still recorded by hand or typeset. Wikipedia says a stenographer could take down 130 words a minute but the fastest recorded writing speed was 30 words a minute. You want to try writing a book at 30 wpm? (I write by hand occasionally to force my brain to focus, but I wouldn’t want to do it for 90k words!) Writing_ball_keyboard_3

Amazingly, a Danish inventor came up with a writing ball which went into production in 1870, that was similar to IBM’s Selectric—which was “invented” all over again in the 1960s.  This early writing ball machine was the first commercially sold typewriter and did well in Europe, still selling in 1909. He even used a solenoid to return the carriage, which could give him the claim of the first electric typewriter. While it worked faster than the human hand, it could only produce capital letters.

At the same time, across the ocean, American John Pratt created a machine called a pterotype. In 1867, Scientific American published an article calling it a “literary piano” because it had black and white keys laid out in two rows. (Remember Ravizza back there? Yup, stolen from him.) Once the article was published, the whole world knew about the machine and the race was on.

Christopher Sholes, an American newspaper publisher, read that Scientific American article and constructed a similar machine. The first row was made of ivory and the second of ebony, the rest of the framework was Sholes_typewriterwooden and used an ink ribbon—the reason the machine finally advanced. He patented that machine in 1868, and dozens of people jumped into the fray—which is about the time my hero steps in.

While Sholes was sending versions of his two-row keyboard to stenographers for testing, it became obvious that the layout jammed when used at a rapid pace—rather the whole reason for the machine’s existence. The inventors had laid out the letters in a logical manner—in alphabetical and numerical order. Remington still bought the patent, but a machine that could type faster was necessary.

Of course, my hero in Scotland is unaware that an associate of Sholes was working on the same problem. James Densmore was a militant vegetarian who seldom ate more than apples (he only lived to be 69 so that might not be the best diet). He first suggested dividing up the keyboard, and ultimately he and others working on it came up with the insane QWERTY keyboard we use on our computers today, even though the problem of jamming keys is long past. But my hero still finds a way to put his machine to use!

Did you learn to type? On what kind of machine? I had an IBM Selectric because my father worked on them!

 

165 thoughts on “Pterotype Anyone?”

  1. The most useful class I took in high school back in the mid-1960s was personal typing. We learned on big old manual office models. I had a portable typewriter in college and made extra money typing other people’s papers. I never did get the hang of electrics, which I had to use in my library job. I made too many mistakes because they let me type too fast! I went directly from a manual typewriter to a Tandy 1000 for my writing. Sooo much easier to correct typos with a computer keyboard.

    Reply
  2. The most useful class I took in high school back in the mid-1960s was personal typing. We learned on big old manual office models. I had a portable typewriter in college and made extra money typing other people’s papers. I never did get the hang of electrics, which I had to use in my library job. I made too many mistakes because they let me type too fast! I went directly from a manual typewriter to a Tandy 1000 for my writing. Sooo much easier to correct typos with a computer keyboard.

    Reply
  3. The most useful class I took in high school back in the mid-1960s was personal typing. We learned on big old manual office models. I had a portable typewriter in college and made extra money typing other people’s papers. I never did get the hang of electrics, which I had to use in my library job. I made too many mistakes because they let me type too fast! I went directly from a manual typewriter to a Tandy 1000 for my writing. Sooo much easier to correct typos with a computer keyboard.

    Reply
  4. The most useful class I took in high school back in the mid-1960s was personal typing. We learned on big old manual office models. I had a portable typewriter in college and made extra money typing other people’s papers. I never did get the hang of electrics, which I had to use in my library job. I made too many mistakes because they let me type too fast! I went directly from a manual typewriter to a Tandy 1000 for my writing. Sooo much easier to correct typos with a computer keyboard.

    Reply
  5. The most useful class I took in high school back in the mid-1960s was personal typing. We learned on big old manual office models. I had a portable typewriter in college and made extra money typing other people’s papers. I never did get the hang of electrics, which I had to use in my library job. I made too many mistakes because they let me type too fast! I went directly from a manual typewriter to a Tandy 1000 for my writing. Sooo much easier to correct typos with a computer keyboard.

    Reply
  6. In 7th and 8th grade we had typing class, both boys and girls. The PTA had raised money to buy the sturdy manual typewriters, and the class was considered a treat—if you failed the weekly spelling test, you weren’t allowed to take typing that week. I actually preferred the manual typewriter to the electric one because I tend to rest my fingers on the keys while I’m thinking what to write next. The electric machines kept going off when I did that.
    I never built up any great speed, but I always typed much faster than I wrote by hand. Now (oh bliss!) there is the computer with the ease of correction and revision. No more white-out, no more trying to erase errors on three carbons without smudging everything. It’s lovely.

    Reply
  7. In 7th and 8th grade we had typing class, both boys and girls. The PTA had raised money to buy the sturdy manual typewriters, and the class was considered a treat—if you failed the weekly spelling test, you weren’t allowed to take typing that week. I actually preferred the manual typewriter to the electric one because I tend to rest my fingers on the keys while I’m thinking what to write next. The electric machines kept going off when I did that.
    I never built up any great speed, but I always typed much faster than I wrote by hand. Now (oh bliss!) there is the computer with the ease of correction and revision. No more white-out, no more trying to erase errors on three carbons without smudging everything. It’s lovely.

    Reply
  8. In 7th and 8th grade we had typing class, both boys and girls. The PTA had raised money to buy the sturdy manual typewriters, and the class was considered a treat—if you failed the weekly spelling test, you weren’t allowed to take typing that week. I actually preferred the manual typewriter to the electric one because I tend to rest my fingers on the keys while I’m thinking what to write next. The electric machines kept going off when I did that.
    I never built up any great speed, but I always typed much faster than I wrote by hand. Now (oh bliss!) there is the computer with the ease of correction and revision. No more white-out, no more trying to erase errors on three carbons without smudging everything. It’s lovely.

    Reply
  9. In 7th and 8th grade we had typing class, both boys and girls. The PTA had raised money to buy the sturdy manual typewriters, and the class was considered a treat—if you failed the weekly spelling test, you weren’t allowed to take typing that week. I actually preferred the manual typewriter to the electric one because I tend to rest my fingers on the keys while I’m thinking what to write next. The electric machines kept going off when I did that.
    I never built up any great speed, but I always typed much faster than I wrote by hand. Now (oh bliss!) there is the computer with the ease of correction and revision. No more white-out, no more trying to erase errors on three carbons without smudging everything. It’s lovely.

    Reply
  10. In 7th and 8th grade we had typing class, both boys and girls. The PTA had raised money to buy the sturdy manual typewriters, and the class was considered a treat—if you failed the weekly spelling test, you weren’t allowed to take typing that week. I actually preferred the manual typewriter to the electric one because I tend to rest my fingers on the keys while I’m thinking what to write next. The electric machines kept going off when I did that.
    I never built up any great speed, but I always typed much faster than I wrote by hand. Now (oh bliss!) there is the computer with the ease of correction and revision. No more white-out, no more trying to erase errors on three carbons without smudging everything. It’s lovely.

    Reply
  11. So interesting to know the history of the typewriter. I knew some of this. It’s what I love about this blog.
    I learned to type in high school on a manual. I don’t remember the brand. Made my living for many years as a clerk typist and secretary. Despite that, I never was what I considered to be a real strong typist. So I just about fell to my knees in thanksgiving when I got my first word processor sometime in the 80s. Precursor to the personal computer, it was a monster of a machine, but to be able to make corrections or revisions without having to re-type an entire document was such a godsend.

    Reply
  12. So interesting to know the history of the typewriter. I knew some of this. It’s what I love about this blog.
    I learned to type in high school on a manual. I don’t remember the brand. Made my living for many years as a clerk typist and secretary. Despite that, I never was what I considered to be a real strong typist. So I just about fell to my knees in thanksgiving when I got my first word processor sometime in the 80s. Precursor to the personal computer, it was a monster of a machine, but to be able to make corrections or revisions without having to re-type an entire document was such a godsend.

    Reply
  13. So interesting to know the history of the typewriter. I knew some of this. It’s what I love about this blog.
    I learned to type in high school on a manual. I don’t remember the brand. Made my living for many years as a clerk typist and secretary. Despite that, I never was what I considered to be a real strong typist. So I just about fell to my knees in thanksgiving when I got my first word processor sometime in the 80s. Precursor to the personal computer, it was a monster of a machine, but to be able to make corrections or revisions without having to re-type an entire document was such a godsend.

    Reply
  14. So interesting to know the history of the typewriter. I knew some of this. It’s what I love about this blog.
    I learned to type in high school on a manual. I don’t remember the brand. Made my living for many years as a clerk typist and secretary. Despite that, I never was what I considered to be a real strong typist. So I just about fell to my knees in thanksgiving when I got my first word processor sometime in the 80s. Precursor to the personal computer, it was a monster of a machine, but to be able to make corrections or revisions without having to re-type an entire document was such a godsend.

    Reply
  15. So interesting to know the history of the typewriter. I knew some of this. It’s what I love about this blog.
    I learned to type in high school on a manual. I don’t remember the brand. Made my living for many years as a clerk typist and secretary. Despite that, I never was what I considered to be a real strong typist. So I just about fell to my knees in thanksgiving when I got my first word processor sometime in the 80s. Precursor to the personal computer, it was a monster of a machine, but to be able to make corrections or revisions without having to re-type an entire document was such a godsend.

    Reply
  16. Love the history! I went to business school after high school and was required to learn on a manual but the IBM Selectric saved my life, so much easier. I also think the transition to the Wang computer keyboard was smoother after the Selectric. I had a 25 year career in database management so I was on the keyboard all day and was quite proficient, that said, I love today’s touch screen technology.

    Reply
  17. Love the history! I went to business school after high school and was required to learn on a manual but the IBM Selectric saved my life, so much easier. I also think the transition to the Wang computer keyboard was smoother after the Selectric. I had a 25 year career in database management so I was on the keyboard all day and was quite proficient, that said, I love today’s touch screen technology.

    Reply
  18. Love the history! I went to business school after high school and was required to learn on a manual but the IBM Selectric saved my life, so much easier. I also think the transition to the Wang computer keyboard was smoother after the Selectric. I had a 25 year career in database management so I was on the keyboard all day and was quite proficient, that said, I love today’s touch screen technology.

    Reply
  19. Love the history! I went to business school after high school and was required to learn on a manual but the IBM Selectric saved my life, so much easier. I also think the transition to the Wang computer keyboard was smoother after the Selectric. I had a 25 year career in database management so I was on the keyboard all day and was quite proficient, that said, I love today’s touch screen technology.

    Reply
  20. Love the history! I went to business school after high school and was required to learn on a manual but the IBM Selectric saved my life, so much easier. I also think the transition to the Wang computer keyboard was smoother after the Selectric. I had a 25 year career in database management so I was on the keyboard all day and was quite proficient, that said, I love today’s touch screen technology.

    Reply
  21. I don’t remember what typewriter my high school had, but I practiced at home on an Underwood.
    I was born for the word-processor! My fingers backspaced and I overwrote the error before I could stop myself – OH bliss when the word processor appeared and I was supposed to do the backspace.
    I went from a manual directly to a Wang, so for me the selectric wasn’t a necessity. I basically skipped that form of producing the “written” word.
    I also had the pleasure of being part of a pioneer project that set Wang-produced computer copy directly to the printer, thereby elliminating the step of turning author output into typescript to be sent to the printer for typesetting. This eliminates one stage for making errors!

    Reply
  22. I don’t remember what typewriter my high school had, but I practiced at home on an Underwood.
    I was born for the word-processor! My fingers backspaced and I overwrote the error before I could stop myself – OH bliss when the word processor appeared and I was supposed to do the backspace.
    I went from a manual directly to a Wang, so for me the selectric wasn’t a necessity. I basically skipped that form of producing the “written” word.
    I also had the pleasure of being part of a pioneer project that set Wang-produced computer copy directly to the printer, thereby elliminating the step of turning author output into typescript to be sent to the printer for typesetting. This eliminates one stage for making errors!

    Reply
  23. I don’t remember what typewriter my high school had, but I practiced at home on an Underwood.
    I was born for the word-processor! My fingers backspaced and I overwrote the error before I could stop myself – OH bliss when the word processor appeared and I was supposed to do the backspace.
    I went from a manual directly to a Wang, so for me the selectric wasn’t a necessity. I basically skipped that form of producing the “written” word.
    I also had the pleasure of being part of a pioneer project that set Wang-produced computer copy directly to the printer, thereby elliminating the step of turning author output into typescript to be sent to the printer for typesetting. This eliminates one stage for making errors!

    Reply
  24. I don’t remember what typewriter my high school had, but I practiced at home on an Underwood.
    I was born for the word-processor! My fingers backspaced and I overwrote the error before I could stop myself – OH bliss when the word processor appeared and I was supposed to do the backspace.
    I went from a manual directly to a Wang, so for me the selectric wasn’t a necessity. I basically skipped that form of producing the “written” word.
    I also had the pleasure of being part of a pioneer project that set Wang-produced computer copy directly to the printer, thereby elliminating the step of turning author output into typescript to be sent to the printer for typesetting. This eliminates one stage for making errors!

    Reply
  25. I don’t remember what typewriter my high school had, but I practiced at home on an Underwood.
    I was born for the word-processor! My fingers backspaced and I overwrote the error before I could stop myself – OH bliss when the word processor appeared and I was supposed to do the backspace.
    I went from a manual directly to a Wang, so for me the selectric wasn’t a necessity. I basically skipped that form of producing the “written” word.
    I also had the pleasure of being part of a pioneer project that set Wang-produced computer copy directly to the printer, thereby elliminating the step of turning author output into typescript to be sent to the printer for typesetting. This eliminates one stage for making errors!

    Reply
  26. What a fascinating post, Patricia; thank you! I learned how to type in high school. The vast majority of the typewriters were manual; however, there were a couple of electric typewriters in the room, too. Oh the joys of Wite-Out….

    Reply
  27. What a fascinating post, Patricia; thank you! I learned how to type in high school. The vast majority of the typewriters were manual; however, there were a couple of electric typewriters in the room, too. Oh the joys of Wite-Out….

    Reply
  28. What a fascinating post, Patricia; thank you! I learned how to type in high school. The vast majority of the typewriters were manual; however, there were a couple of electric typewriters in the room, too. Oh the joys of Wite-Out….

    Reply
  29. What a fascinating post, Patricia; thank you! I learned how to type in high school. The vast majority of the typewriters were manual; however, there were a couple of electric typewriters in the room, too. Oh the joys of Wite-Out….

    Reply
  30. What a fascinating post, Patricia; thank you! I learned how to type in high school. The vast majority of the typewriters were manual; however, there were a couple of electric typewriters in the room, too. Oh the joys of Wite-Out….

    Reply
  31. Hi Patricia
    WOW that is a lot of research, I loved learning to type when I was in high school many years ago we would go on a Monday evening to Tech school and learn on an old Imperial Typewriter and when I started work in a bank after school we had many of them 🙂
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  32. Hi Patricia
    WOW that is a lot of research, I loved learning to type when I was in high school many years ago we would go on a Monday evening to Tech school and learn on an old Imperial Typewriter and when I started work in a bank after school we had many of them 🙂
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  33. Hi Patricia
    WOW that is a lot of research, I loved learning to type when I was in high school many years ago we would go on a Monday evening to Tech school and learn on an old Imperial Typewriter and when I started work in a bank after school we had many of them 🙂
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  34. Hi Patricia
    WOW that is a lot of research, I loved learning to type when I was in high school many years ago we would go on a Monday evening to Tech school and learn on an old Imperial Typewriter and when I started work in a bank after school we had many of them 🙂
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  35. Hi Patricia
    WOW that is a lot of research, I loved learning to type when I was in high school many years ago we would go on a Monday evening to Tech school and learn on an old Imperial Typewriter and when I started work in a bank after school we had many of them 🙂
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  36. Ugh, shudder, don’t remind me of Wite-Out. I graduated to a small electric that had tape that was supposed to delete, except it kept getting tangled and breaking. My relationship with computers is definitely love/hate

    Reply
  37. Ugh, shudder, don’t remind me of Wite-Out. I graduated to a small electric that had tape that was supposed to delete, except it kept getting tangled and breaking. My relationship with computers is definitely love/hate

    Reply
  38. Ugh, shudder, don’t remind me of Wite-Out. I graduated to a small electric that had tape that was supposed to delete, except it kept getting tangled and breaking. My relationship with computers is definitely love/hate

    Reply
  39. Ugh, shudder, don’t remind me of Wite-Out. I graduated to a small electric that had tape that was supposed to delete, except it kept getting tangled and breaking. My relationship with computers is definitely love/hate

    Reply
  40. Ugh, shudder, don’t remind me of Wite-Out. I graduated to a small electric that had tape that was supposed to delete, except it kept getting tangled and breaking. My relationship with computers is definitely love/hate

    Reply
  41. I learned in high school on manual typewriters, but most of my working life was spent with the IBM selectric. I was just telling someone the other day about the special head we had to use to send telegrams at the State Department. We used special paper as well, and you could NOT correct a mistake – the whole form had to be retyped. It was because the forms were run through a machine that encrypted them before sending.

    Reply
  42. I learned in high school on manual typewriters, but most of my working life was spent with the IBM selectric. I was just telling someone the other day about the special head we had to use to send telegrams at the State Department. We used special paper as well, and you could NOT correct a mistake – the whole form had to be retyped. It was because the forms were run through a machine that encrypted them before sending.

    Reply
  43. I learned in high school on manual typewriters, but most of my working life was spent with the IBM selectric. I was just telling someone the other day about the special head we had to use to send telegrams at the State Department. We used special paper as well, and you could NOT correct a mistake – the whole form had to be retyped. It was because the forms were run through a machine that encrypted them before sending.

    Reply
  44. I learned in high school on manual typewriters, but most of my working life was spent with the IBM selectric. I was just telling someone the other day about the special head we had to use to send telegrams at the State Department. We used special paper as well, and you could NOT correct a mistake – the whole form had to be retyped. It was because the forms were run through a machine that encrypted them before sending.

    Reply
  45. I learned in high school on manual typewriters, but most of my working life was spent with the IBM selectric. I was just telling someone the other day about the special head we had to use to send telegrams at the State Department. We used special paper as well, and you could NOT correct a mistake – the whole form had to be retyped. It was because the forms were run through a machine that encrypted them before sending.

    Reply
  46. I used ’em all, from the heavy manuals straight through to the iPad. My favorite was the self-correcting Selectric. Typing on it was like dancing on the keys, and oh! The joy of sucking the offending ink out of a word without White Out or that clumsy cover-up tape.
    Tiny factoid: No woman won the world’s fastest typist honors until the electric typewriter was invented because of the strength needed to depress the keys on the old manual ones.
    If you’ve never heard a live performance of Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter with a real typist (manual typewriter, usually a male typist, lol), you’ve missed a treat. But I’m glad I no longer have to type on one. Give me a nice, clicky Logitech keyboard any day.

    Reply
  47. I used ’em all, from the heavy manuals straight through to the iPad. My favorite was the self-correcting Selectric. Typing on it was like dancing on the keys, and oh! The joy of sucking the offending ink out of a word without White Out or that clumsy cover-up tape.
    Tiny factoid: No woman won the world’s fastest typist honors until the electric typewriter was invented because of the strength needed to depress the keys on the old manual ones.
    If you’ve never heard a live performance of Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter with a real typist (manual typewriter, usually a male typist, lol), you’ve missed a treat. But I’m glad I no longer have to type on one. Give me a nice, clicky Logitech keyboard any day.

    Reply
  48. I used ’em all, from the heavy manuals straight through to the iPad. My favorite was the self-correcting Selectric. Typing on it was like dancing on the keys, and oh! The joy of sucking the offending ink out of a word without White Out or that clumsy cover-up tape.
    Tiny factoid: No woman won the world’s fastest typist honors until the electric typewriter was invented because of the strength needed to depress the keys on the old manual ones.
    If you’ve never heard a live performance of Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter with a real typist (manual typewriter, usually a male typist, lol), you’ve missed a treat. But I’m glad I no longer have to type on one. Give me a nice, clicky Logitech keyboard any day.

    Reply
  49. I used ’em all, from the heavy manuals straight through to the iPad. My favorite was the self-correcting Selectric. Typing on it was like dancing on the keys, and oh! The joy of sucking the offending ink out of a word without White Out or that clumsy cover-up tape.
    Tiny factoid: No woman won the world’s fastest typist honors until the electric typewriter was invented because of the strength needed to depress the keys on the old manual ones.
    If you’ve never heard a live performance of Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter with a real typist (manual typewriter, usually a male typist, lol), you’ve missed a treat. But I’m glad I no longer have to type on one. Give me a nice, clicky Logitech keyboard any day.

    Reply
  50. I used ’em all, from the heavy manuals straight through to the iPad. My favorite was the self-correcting Selectric. Typing on it was like dancing on the keys, and oh! The joy of sucking the offending ink out of a word without White Out or that clumsy cover-up tape.
    Tiny factoid: No woman won the world’s fastest typist honors until the electric typewriter was invented because of the strength needed to depress the keys on the old manual ones.
    If you’ve never heard a live performance of Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter with a real typist (manual typewriter, usually a male typist, lol), you’ve missed a treat. But I’m glad I no longer have to type on one. Give me a nice, clicky Logitech keyboard any day.

    Reply
  51. In high school it was a manual that took effort to use the keys. Then, I got a portable and it still took effort, but not as much. I used it for school work in both high school and college.
    Then, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with my introduction to a Selectric. I loved that machine.
    Now, I use a keyboard. It does make a nice comfy sound when I hit the keys. I like that in a keyboard.

    Reply
  52. In high school it was a manual that took effort to use the keys. Then, I got a portable and it still took effort, but not as much. I used it for school work in both high school and college.
    Then, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with my introduction to a Selectric. I loved that machine.
    Now, I use a keyboard. It does make a nice comfy sound when I hit the keys. I like that in a keyboard.

    Reply
  53. In high school it was a manual that took effort to use the keys. Then, I got a portable and it still took effort, but not as much. I used it for school work in both high school and college.
    Then, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with my introduction to a Selectric. I loved that machine.
    Now, I use a keyboard. It does make a nice comfy sound when I hit the keys. I like that in a keyboard.

    Reply
  54. In high school it was a manual that took effort to use the keys. Then, I got a portable and it still took effort, but not as much. I used it for school work in both high school and college.
    Then, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with my introduction to a Selectric. I loved that machine.
    Now, I use a keyboard. It does make a nice comfy sound when I hit the keys. I like that in a keyboard.

    Reply
  55. In high school it was a manual that took effort to use the keys. Then, I got a portable and it still took effort, but not as much. I used it for school work in both high school and college.
    Then, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with my introduction to a Selectric. I loved that machine.
    Now, I use a keyboard. It does make a nice comfy sound when I hit the keys. I like that in a keyboard.

    Reply
  56. I also took 1/2 year in 9th grade personal typing. This was in a small school in the early 1960’s they had mostly manual typewriters that had such huge steps between the three levels of keys. My Fingers were not long or strong so I had a very hard time. The keys had to be hit so hard to bring them to the paper. The two or three electric ones they got only the seniors could use. After that I did not have use of a typewriter to keep up practicing. Years later I did borrow an electric one – no idea what model it was, but I was totally surprised how well I recalled where the letters were.
    I loved the computers when they finally were more readily available and to be able to edit and correct was a blessing. Those correcting methods for typewriters were not easy.
    My husband worked for the Railroad (as a train director in the yard at the DC train station) and as someone else mentioned any instructions he had to type out for the engineers could not have any errors in them – He would have to retype till no mistakes. Luckily he was pretty good.
    I enjoyed seeing the illustrations of the old models. This is not a topic I would have spent much time searching for so this was interesting. Thank you, Pat

    Reply
  57. I also took 1/2 year in 9th grade personal typing. This was in a small school in the early 1960’s they had mostly manual typewriters that had such huge steps between the three levels of keys. My Fingers were not long or strong so I had a very hard time. The keys had to be hit so hard to bring them to the paper. The two or three electric ones they got only the seniors could use. After that I did not have use of a typewriter to keep up practicing. Years later I did borrow an electric one – no idea what model it was, but I was totally surprised how well I recalled where the letters were.
    I loved the computers when they finally were more readily available and to be able to edit and correct was a blessing. Those correcting methods for typewriters were not easy.
    My husband worked for the Railroad (as a train director in the yard at the DC train station) and as someone else mentioned any instructions he had to type out for the engineers could not have any errors in them – He would have to retype till no mistakes. Luckily he was pretty good.
    I enjoyed seeing the illustrations of the old models. This is not a topic I would have spent much time searching for so this was interesting. Thank you, Pat

    Reply
  58. I also took 1/2 year in 9th grade personal typing. This was in a small school in the early 1960’s they had mostly manual typewriters that had such huge steps between the three levels of keys. My Fingers were not long or strong so I had a very hard time. The keys had to be hit so hard to bring them to the paper. The two or three electric ones they got only the seniors could use. After that I did not have use of a typewriter to keep up practicing. Years later I did borrow an electric one – no idea what model it was, but I was totally surprised how well I recalled where the letters were.
    I loved the computers when they finally were more readily available and to be able to edit and correct was a blessing. Those correcting methods for typewriters were not easy.
    My husband worked for the Railroad (as a train director in the yard at the DC train station) and as someone else mentioned any instructions he had to type out for the engineers could not have any errors in them – He would have to retype till no mistakes. Luckily he was pretty good.
    I enjoyed seeing the illustrations of the old models. This is not a topic I would have spent much time searching for so this was interesting. Thank you, Pat

    Reply
  59. I also took 1/2 year in 9th grade personal typing. This was in a small school in the early 1960’s they had mostly manual typewriters that had such huge steps between the three levels of keys. My Fingers were not long or strong so I had a very hard time. The keys had to be hit so hard to bring them to the paper. The two or three electric ones they got only the seniors could use. After that I did not have use of a typewriter to keep up practicing. Years later I did borrow an electric one – no idea what model it was, but I was totally surprised how well I recalled where the letters were.
    I loved the computers when they finally were more readily available and to be able to edit and correct was a blessing. Those correcting methods for typewriters were not easy.
    My husband worked for the Railroad (as a train director in the yard at the DC train station) and as someone else mentioned any instructions he had to type out for the engineers could not have any errors in them – He would have to retype till no mistakes. Luckily he was pretty good.
    I enjoyed seeing the illustrations of the old models. This is not a topic I would have spent much time searching for so this was interesting. Thank you, Pat

    Reply
  60. I also took 1/2 year in 9th grade personal typing. This was in a small school in the early 1960’s they had mostly manual typewriters that had such huge steps between the three levels of keys. My Fingers were not long or strong so I had a very hard time. The keys had to be hit so hard to bring them to the paper. The two or three electric ones they got only the seniors could use. After that I did not have use of a typewriter to keep up practicing. Years later I did borrow an electric one – no idea what model it was, but I was totally surprised how well I recalled where the letters were.
    I loved the computers when they finally were more readily available and to be able to edit and correct was a blessing. Those correcting methods for typewriters were not easy.
    My husband worked for the Railroad (as a train director in the yard at the DC train station) and as someone else mentioned any instructions he had to type out for the engineers could not have any errors in them – He would have to retype till no mistakes. Luckily he was pretty good.
    I enjoyed seeing the illustrations of the old models. This is not a topic I would have spent much time searching for so this was interesting. Thank you, Pat

    Reply
  61. I started using a 1960s-era manual typewriter last year for doing first drafts (historical fiction), and I find it works better and keeps me focused on drafting, so as to avoid the trap of endlessly revising and editing too early.
    Also, it reduces eyestrain. And there’s something very satisfying about the “ding!” at the end of every line. 🙂

    Reply
  62. I started using a 1960s-era manual typewriter last year for doing first drafts (historical fiction), and I find it works better and keeps me focused on drafting, so as to avoid the trap of endlessly revising and editing too early.
    Also, it reduces eyestrain. And there’s something very satisfying about the “ding!” at the end of every line. 🙂

    Reply
  63. I started using a 1960s-era manual typewriter last year for doing first drafts (historical fiction), and I find it works better and keeps me focused on drafting, so as to avoid the trap of endlessly revising and editing too early.
    Also, it reduces eyestrain. And there’s something very satisfying about the “ding!” at the end of every line. 🙂

    Reply
  64. I started using a 1960s-era manual typewriter last year for doing first drafts (historical fiction), and I find it works better and keeps me focused on drafting, so as to avoid the trap of endlessly revising and editing too early.
    Also, it reduces eyestrain. And there’s something very satisfying about the “ding!” at the end of every line. 🙂

    Reply
  65. I started using a 1960s-era manual typewriter last year for doing first drafts (historical fiction), and I find it works better and keeps me focused on drafting, so as to avoid the trap of endlessly revising and editing too early.
    Also, it reduces eyestrain. And there’s something very satisfying about the “ding!” at the end of every line. 🙂

    Reply
  66. Stenographers can take dictation much faster than writing as they use a abbreviation system (short hand). This is similar to how the court stenographers use a “keyboard” with very few keys. I worked at a museum in the 1980s where a scientist insisted on typing on a 1930s typewriter. It was a challenge to find ribbons. He managed to write multiple hundred page articles every year.

    Reply
  67. Stenographers can take dictation much faster than writing as they use a abbreviation system (short hand). This is similar to how the court stenographers use a “keyboard” with very few keys. I worked at a museum in the 1980s where a scientist insisted on typing on a 1930s typewriter. It was a challenge to find ribbons. He managed to write multiple hundred page articles every year.

    Reply
  68. Stenographers can take dictation much faster than writing as they use a abbreviation system (short hand). This is similar to how the court stenographers use a “keyboard” with very few keys. I worked at a museum in the 1980s where a scientist insisted on typing on a 1930s typewriter. It was a challenge to find ribbons. He managed to write multiple hundred page articles every year.

    Reply
  69. Stenographers can take dictation much faster than writing as they use a abbreviation system (short hand). This is similar to how the court stenographers use a “keyboard” with very few keys. I worked at a museum in the 1980s where a scientist insisted on typing on a 1930s typewriter. It was a challenge to find ribbons. He managed to write multiple hundred page articles every year.

    Reply
  70. Stenographers can take dictation much faster than writing as they use a abbreviation system (short hand). This is similar to how the court stenographers use a “keyboard” with very few keys. I worked at a museum in the 1980s where a scientist insisted on typing on a 1930s typewriter. It was a challenge to find ribbons. He managed to write multiple hundred page articles every year.

    Reply
  71. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog! Anne Gracie suggested it when she read some of the pages of the new book where I was floundering around with the timeline of typewriters. I love sharing the fun things we research!

    Reply
  72. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog! Anne Gracie suggested it when she read some of the pages of the new book where I was floundering around with the timeline of typewriters. I love sharing the fun things we research!

    Reply
  73. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog! Anne Gracie suggested it when she read some of the pages of the new book where I was floundering around with the timeline of typewriters. I love sharing the fun things we research!

    Reply
  74. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog! Anne Gracie suggested it when she read some of the pages of the new book where I was floundering around with the timeline of typewriters. I love sharing the fun things we research!

    Reply
  75. I’m glad you enjoyed the blog! Anne Gracie suggested it when she read some of the pages of the new book where I was floundering around with the timeline of typewriters. I love sharing the fun things we research!

    Reply
  76. Exactly, that’s why the inventors of typewriters had a real challenge. I don’t think typewriters (or computers) can ever write as fast as stenographers, but print is easier to read than those little scribbles! (I learned notehand in high school, not quite as fast but good for notes) And it’s amusing to see how we get attached to a particular machine. It must have been a good one if it didn’t ever break down!

    Reply
  77. Exactly, that’s why the inventors of typewriters had a real challenge. I don’t think typewriters (or computers) can ever write as fast as stenographers, but print is easier to read than those little scribbles! (I learned notehand in high school, not quite as fast but good for notes) And it’s amusing to see how we get attached to a particular machine. It must have been a good one if it didn’t ever break down!

    Reply
  78. Exactly, that’s why the inventors of typewriters had a real challenge. I don’t think typewriters (or computers) can ever write as fast as stenographers, but print is easier to read than those little scribbles! (I learned notehand in high school, not quite as fast but good for notes) And it’s amusing to see how we get attached to a particular machine. It must have been a good one if it didn’t ever break down!

    Reply
  79. Exactly, that’s why the inventors of typewriters had a real challenge. I don’t think typewriters (or computers) can ever write as fast as stenographers, but print is easier to read than those little scribbles! (I learned notehand in high school, not quite as fast but good for notes) And it’s amusing to see how we get attached to a particular machine. It must have been a good one if it didn’t ever break down!

    Reply
  80. Exactly, that’s why the inventors of typewriters had a real challenge. I don’t think typewriters (or computers) can ever write as fast as stenographers, but print is easier to read than those little scribbles! (I learned notehand in high school, not quite as fast but good for notes) And it’s amusing to see how we get attached to a particular machine. It must have been a good one if it didn’t ever break down!

    Reply
  81. It is sometimes a trick to remember what you’re typing on. The letters and numbers are arranged the same (unless you have one of those really old machines with no “1” and no “!”). The symbols, however, are not the same on every machine, and if you switch back and forth to a keyboard often, you can find yourself repeatedly hunting for your quotation marks, apostrophe, etc. It makes for some odd moments in punctuation. 🙂

    Reply
  82. It is sometimes a trick to remember what you’re typing on. The letters and numbers are arranged the same (unless you have one of those really old machines with no “1” and no “!”). The symbols, however, are not the same on every machine, and if you switch back and forth to a keyboard often, you can find yourself repeatedly hunting for your quotation marks, apostrophe, etc. It makes for some odd moments in punctuation. 🙂

    Reply
  83. It is sometimes a trick to remember what you’re typing on. The letters and numbers are arranged the same (unless you have one of those really old machines with no “1” and no “!”). The symbols, however, are not the same on every machine, and if you switch back and forth to a keyboard often, you can find yourself repeatedly hunting for your quotation marks, apostrophe, etc. It makes for some odd moments in punctuation. 🙂

    Reply
  84. It is sometimes a trick to remember what you’re typing on. The letters and numbers are arranged the same (unless you have one of those really old machines with no “1” and no “!”). The symbols, however, are not the same on every machine, and if you switch back and forth to a keyboard often, you can find yourself repeatedly hunting for your quotation marks, apostrophe, etc. It makes for some odd moments in punctuation. 🙂

    Reply
  85. It is sometimes a trick to remember what you’re typing on. The letters and numbers are arranged the same (unless you have one of those really old machines with no “1” and no “!”). The symbols, however, are not the same on every machine, and if you switch back and forth to a keyboard often, you can find yourself repeatedly hunting for your quotation marks, apostrophe, etc. It makes for some odd moments in punctuation. 🙂

    Reply
  86. Those old warhorses were good for a long run, but I’m guessing he had to have it serviced, and the platen replaced occasionally–and possibly other parts from wear and tear. Much like an antique car, replacement parts come from other typewriters no longer being manufactured. At the moment, many are still available, but it’s likely to get harder as time goes on. Unfortunately, the craze for typewriter-key jewelry results in the destruction of numerous antique machines.

    Reply
  87. Those old warhorses were good for a long run, but I’m guessing he had to have it serviced, and the platen replaced occasionally–and possibly other parts from wear and tear. Much like an antique car, replacement parts come from other typewriters no longer being manufactured. At the moment, many are still available, but it’s likely to get harder as time goes on. Unfortunately, the craze for typewriter-key jewelry results in the destruction of numerous antique machines.

    Reply
  88. Those old warhorses were good for a long run, but I’m guessing he had to have it serviced, and the platen replaced occasionally–and possibly other parts from wear and tear. Much like an antique car, replacement parts come from other typewriters no longer being manufactured. At the moment, many are still available, but it’s likely to get harder as time goes on. Unfortunately, the craze for typewriter-key jewelry results in the destruction of numerous antique machines.

    Reply
  89. Those old warhorses were good for a long run, but I’m guessing he had to have it serviced, and the platen replaced occasionally–and possibly other parts from wear and tear. Much like an antique car, replacement parts come from other typewriters no longer being manufactured. At the moment, many are still available, but it’s likely to get harder as time goes on. Unfortunately, the craze for typewriter-key jewelry results in the destruction of numerous antique machines.

    Reply
  90. Those old warhorses were good for a long run, but I’m guessing he had to have it serviced, and the platen replaced occasionally–and possibly other parts from wear and tear. Much like an antique car, replacement parts come from other typewriters no longer being manufactured. At the moment, many are still available, but it’s likely to get harder as time goes on. Unfortunately, the craze for typewriter-key jewelry results in the destruction of numerous antique machines.

    Reply
  91. flunked typing in 9th grade, barely passed the next year.
    Army only required 40 words per minute for using a teletype. that was a bit easier than a manual, no carriage return lever, just hit the carriage return twice and then the line feed key once. And if you made a mistake you might be able to repair it on the five level tape that the teletype generated, or you could tape over the error and then put in the appropriate holes for the correct letter.
    Mostly I just like the error notices the computer gives me because my spelling is dreadful.

    Reply
  92. flunked typing in 9th grade, barely passed the next year.
    Army only required 40 words per minute for using a teletype. that was a bit easier than a manual, no carriage return lever, just hit the carriage return twice and then the line feed key once. And if you made a mistake you might be able to repair it on the five level tape that the teletype generated, or you could tape over the error and then put in the appropriate holes for the correct letter.
    Mostly I just like the error notices the computer gives me because my spelling is dreadful.

    Reply
  93. flunked typing in 9th grade, barely passed the next year.
    Army only required 40 words per minute for using a teletype. that was a bit easier than a manual, no carriage return lever, just hit the carriage return twice and then the line feed key once. And if you made a mistake you might be able to repair it on the five level tape that the teletype generated, or you could tape over the error and then put in the appropriate holes for the correct letter.
    Mostly I just like the error notices the computer gives me because my spelling is dreadful.

    Reply
  94. flunked typing in 9th grade, barely passed the next year.
    Army only required 40 words per minute for using a teletype. that was a bit easier than a manual, no carriage return lever, just hit the carriage return twice and then the line feed key once. And if you made a mistake you might be able to repair it on the five level tape that the teletype generated, or you could tape over the error and then put in the appropriate holes for the correct letter.
    Mostly I just like the error notices the computer gives me because my spelling is dreadful.

    Reply
  95. flunked typing in 9th grade, barely passed the next year.
    Army only required 40 words per minute for using a teletype. that was a bit easier than a manual, no carriage return lever, just hit the carriage return twice and then the line feed key once. And if you made a mistake you might be able to repair it on the five level tape that the teletype generated, or you could tape over the error and then put in the appropriate holes for the correct letter.
    Mostly I just like the error notices the computer gives me because my spelling is dreadful.

    Reply

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