The typewriter, by reducing the time and expense involved in creating documents, encouraged the spread of systematic management. It allowed a system of communications that shaped the business world.
In 1829, American William Austin Burt patented a machine called the “Typographer” which, in common with many other early machines, is listed as the “first typewriter”.
Developed by Christopher Glidden in the 1860s and manufactured by the Remington arms company beginning in 1873, the Sholes & Glidden was the first commercially successful typewriter. Its adoption by large corporations kickstarted the typewriter industry and contributed to the speedup of American work life. The innovations of the Sholes & Glidden, particularly its keyboard layout, were widely adopted. This typewriter is why your computer keyboard reads QWERTYUIOP.
The typewriter was not immediately successful. Manufacturers had to figure out how to combine precise machinery with a durable structure and components.
The story behind QWERTY
Typewriter Trivia. Sholes’ invention was originally designed to print page numbers on books. It was Glidden who suggested using it to type letters. The longest common words using only the top row of letters on a typewriter are ‘proprietor’, ‘perpetuity’, ‘repertoire’ and ‘typewriter’ itself.
A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical machine for typing characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array of keys, and each one causes a different single character to be produced on paper by striking an inked ribbon selectively against the paper with a type element. At the end of the nineteenth century, the term ‘typewriter’ was also applied to a person who used such a device.
The first commercial typewriters were introduced in 1874, but did not become common in offices until after the mid-1880s.[where?] The typewriter quickly became an indispensable tool for practically all writing other than personal handwritten correspondence. It was widely used by professional writers, in offices, business correspondence in private homes, and by students preparing written assignments.
Typewriters were a standard fixture in most offices up to the 1980s. Thereafter, they began to be largely supplanted by personal computers running word processing software. Nevertheless, typewriters remain common in some parts of the world. In many Indian cities and towns, for example, typewriters are still used, especially in roadside and legal offices due to a lack of continuous, reliable electricity. The QWERTY keyboard layout, developed for typewriters in the 1870s, remains the standard for computer keyboards, although the origins of this layout remain in dispute, whether it was developed for mechanical reasons or to suit the operator, particularly Morse code operators 
Notable typewriter manufacturers included E. Remington and Sons, IBM, Godrej, Imperial Typewriter Company, Oliver Typewriter Company, Olivetti, Royal Typewriter Company, Smith Corona, Underwood Typewriter Company, Adler Typewriter Company and Olympia-Werke [de].
Smith Corona is an American manufacturer of thermal labels, direct thermal labels, and thermal ribbons used in warehouses for primarily barcode labels. Once a large U.S. typewriter and mechanical calculator manufacturer, it expanded aggressively during the 1960s to become a broad-based industrial conglomerate whose products extended to paints, foods, and paper. The mechanical calculator sector was wiped out in the early 1970s by the production of cheap electronic calculators, and the typewriter business collapsed in the mid-1980s due to the introduction of PC-based word processing.
Smith Corona addressed this by manufacturing word processing typewriters such as PWP 1400 model. Its competitors were Brother, Olivetti, Adler, Olympia and IBM. In late 2010, Smith Corona entered the industrial ribbon and label market.
The company no longer manufacturers typewriters or calculators, but does manufacture large quantities of barcode and shipping labels and thermal ribbons used in thermal transfer printers. Their facility is in Cleveland, Ohio. Smith Corona now competes with distributors of Zebra Technologies supplies, packaging companies like Uline and various other private companies.
Commercial for IBM’s Selectric Typewriter 1960’s
Instead of the “basket” of individual typebars that swung up to strike the ribbon and page in a typical typewriter of the period, the Selectric had an “element” (frequently called a “typeball”, or less formally, a “golf ball”) that rotated and pivoted to the correct position, before striking the paper. The element could be easily interchanged to use different fonts within the same document typed on the same typewriter, resurrecting a capability which had been pioneered by typewriters such as the Hammond and Blickensderfer in the late 19th century.
The Selectric also replaced the traditional typewriter’s horizontally-moving carriage with a roller (platen) that turned to advance the paper vertically, while the typeball and ribbon mechanism moved horizontally across the paper. The Selectric mechanism was notable for using internal mechanical binary coding and two mechanical digital-to-analog converters, called whiffletree linkages, to select the character to be typed.
Selectrics and their descendants eventually captured 75 percent of the United States market for electric typewriters used in business. By the Selectric’s 25th anniversary, in 1986, a total of more than 13 million machines had been made and sold. IBM replaced the Selectric line with the IBM Wheelwriter in 1984, and transferred its typewriter business to the newly formed Lexmark in 1991.
Fun facts about the typewriter
- The First Patent Came in 1714. …
- The Next Patent Came in 1868. …
- It Wasn’t Always QWERTY… …
- Sholes Sold the Rights Early On. …
- Early Keyboards Were Modelled After Piano Keys. …
- Typewriters Allowed an Avenue for Women. …
- The Myth of the Typewriter. …
- Mark Twain Wrote the First Typewritten Novel.
Typewriters Allowed an Avenue for Women
Women weren’t a part of much of the workforce at the time that typewriters were invented. As the turn of the century rolled around, the typewriter wasn’t used to compose so much as transcribe information.
So, the role of a typewriter — one who uses a typewriter to transcribe — was to listen to those who wanted information typed and put it down. This role was designated to women.
While the reasons for the position being designated to women were sexist, and genuine social change didn’t come about quickly, the role provided a foot in the doorway for modern feminism.
Roughly 80 percent of early typewriters were women, and it provided a normalized way to break into the working world.
The word ‘typewriter’ is generally considered the longest English word (10 letters), that only uses one row of the QWERTY keyboard layout, although a flower, ‘rupturewort’ can beat that record (11 letters).
WE&P by: EZorrillaM.