There was a time when the typewriter was considered an indispensable tool for various reasons, such as personal and professional correspondence, by professional writers, and by students preparing written assignments.
Let’s look at its history to understand why was the typewriter invented.
History of early typewriters
In 1714, Henry Mill designed a typewriting device and received a patent for it. In 1865, the Hansen writing ball was developed in Denmark. It was the first commercial typewriter sold in Europe.
In 1867, Christopher Sholes developed the first practical typewriter in Wisconsin. He later sold his shares to Remington. The term typewriter originated when Remington began production of the first commercially sold typewriter in 1873 called the Sholes and Glidden typewriter.
It looked more like a sewing machine and had a qwerty keyboard. It produced only capital letters and did not have small letters. To date, we see the qwerty layout in computer keyboards. Like many early typewriters, the carriage movement allowed for letter spacing.
The problem of the inability to type small letters was solved by placing capital and lowercase of the same letter, on each bar, without increasing the number of typewriter keys. However, in 1878, the Remington model was introduced with the first shift keyboard layout.
Shift to index and electrical typewriter
In 1880 index typewriters were introduced, which were lighter than the early mechanical typewriter but soon phased out as one hand typewriter keyboard became more popular.
Meanwhile, in 1872, Thomas Edison had developed the first electric typewriter, which was operated by a motor.
This led to other developments as the first commercially successful typewriter was developed in 1961. Soon typewriters were modified for use as commercial typewriters. The latest development was the electronic typewriters in 1976, which relied on integrated circuits.
Until 1980, typewriters were used as office machines for communication of all kinds other than personal handwritten correspondence. Soon after, as technology evolved, typewriters were replaced by modern-day personal computers. Today their use can be seen in the following areas
- In underdeveloped cities, particularly in roadside and legal offices where there are electricity supply issues
- In government agencies and other institutions in the US, for filling preprinted forms.
- In correctional facilities where the use of computers is prohibited.