Samuel W. Francis Writing Machine

This is a typewriter patented by Dr. Samuel Ward Francis of Newport, Rhode Island in 1857. The patent received number 18,504 and claimed the principal improvements of arranging the hammers in a circle, a common printing center, with a key operation similar in manner to that of a piano. The typewriter consists of a wooden box with attached mechanism for typing. The ivory keyboard is similar to a piano's and extends the length of the front, earning the writing machine the “Literary Piano” nickname.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Francis, Dr. Samuel Ward
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
bone, ivory (overall material)
overall: 8 5/8 in x 25 3/8 in x 22 3/4 in; 21.9075 cm x 64.4525 cm x 57.785 cm
place made
United States: Rhode Island, Rhode Island, Newport
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

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