Victor Index Typewriter

This Victor index typewriter was manufactured by the Tilton Manufacturing Company of Boston, Massachusetts around 1889. The typewriter notably lacks a keyboard, and is called an “index” typewriter because you used your index finger to select the letters rather than striking a key. Bringing the selector over the character on the letter plate rotates the daisy wheel to the corresponding character. Pressing the inner left-hand key swung the hammer to strike the character, imprinting the type on the paper. The far left hand key served as the space bar. The daisy wheel used in this machines was such a brilliant design that it went on to be used in typewriters and printers in the 1970s and 1980s. The black metal body of the typewriter notes that the typewriter contains two patents, patented on August 13, 1889 and August 20, 1889. These corresponded to patent number 409128 and patent number 409289, patented by Charles E. Tilton and Arthur I. Jacobs, respectively. Jacobs assigned his patent to the Tilton Manufacturing Company while it was still located in Portland, Maine.
Currently not on view
Object Name
overall: 4 in x 13 in x 9 in; 10.16 cm x 33.02 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Computers & Business Machines
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.