Keaton Music Typewriter

As typewriters developed during the 20th century, a class of music typewriters began to emerge. This is a Keaton Music Typewriter that was invented by Robert H. Keaton of San Francisco, California. Keaton had two patents that covered his music typewriter, the first was given patent number 2,047,690 on July 14, 1936 and related to a 14 key music typewriter, and the second was given number 2,631,712 on March 17, 1953 and covered a 33 key music typewriter. The typewriter’s board held sheet music in place while a semicircle ring of keys containing notes and musical notation typebars could be maneuvered above the sheet music to create musical compositions.
Currently not on view
Keaton Music Typewriter Company
overall -case: 6 1/2 in x 22 1/2 in x 18 in; 16.51 cm x 57.15 cm x 45.72 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Urban Thielmann
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Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History


"Mr. Keaton lived across the street from me when I was growing up in San Francisco. His workshop was located in his garage that often had the garage door open, There was also a regular door that accessed the garage from the sidewalk.I would often stop and visit Mr. Keaton as he worked in his garage working on one invention or another. He often had several projects going at once and I never had any idea what anything was other than he was an "inventor " as my parents described him to me.A very kind. creative person who freely shared his time with a curious kid."

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