Beach's Typewriter Patent Model

This typewriter patent model was used by Alfred Ely Beach of Stratford, Connecticut in his patent application that received patent number 15,164 on June 24, 1856. Beach’s patent was titled an “Improvement in Printing-Instruments for the Blind,” as the typewriter was meant to leave a raised letter on the paper, rather than an inked character. The machine could be modified to also print black letters with the addition of an ink belt. The typewriter printed on a single line on a slip of paper similar to ticker tape, with each typebar striking at a common center. The mother-of-pearl keys are arranged in three rows, with capital and lowercase letters each having separated keys. The typebars are contained in the veneered wooden box. The circular type basket is decorated with gilt-cast leaves.
Alfred Ely Beach was an inventor and publisher in New York during the mid -19th century. Along with his business partners Orson D. Munn and Salem H. Wales, Beach purchased Scientific American magazine in 1846. In 1847 Beach produced a precursor to this machine, which was eventually patented in 1856. This typewriter was never commercially produced. Beach is more commonly remembered as the inventor of New York City’s first subway, Beach’s Pneumatic Transit. Beach built a 300-foot prototype pneumatic powered subway in 1870 that was never expanded due to political roadblocks.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
associated date
Beach, Alfred E.
Kirchof, C.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 12 in x 28 in x 20 in; 30.48 cm x 71.12 cm x 50.8 cm
place made
United States: New York
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
Additional Media

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