Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The Museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Other artifacts range from personal computers to ENIAC, the Altair, and the Osborne 1. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
"Computers & Business Machines - Overview" showing 1 items.
- The Underwood Model 5, introduced in 1899, is the result of almost thirty years of innovation and improvements in typewriter manufacture. It became the ubiquitous office machine for another thirty years, and its sales led Underwood to dominate the market. The Model 5 became the modern standard of how a typewriter worked and what it looked like.
- The first successful commercial typewriter, developed by Christopher Scholes and Carlos Glidden, was brought to the public in 1874 by the Remington Company. Two elements from that first machine remained dominant in the design of eventual typewriters: the QWERY keyboard, a pattern of letters on the keyboard, and the telegraph type key movement. At first sales were slow, but the typewriter industry grew as businesses expanded along with their need to retain records, and process paperwork at fast speeds. More and more people, mostly women, learned the new skill of typing, creating a new class of clerical worker, according to historian JoAnne Yates.
- There were a handful of typewriter manufacturers by the end of the 1880s such as Remington, a leader in the industry, L.C. Smith & Brothers, Caligraph, Hammond, and a number of smaller firms. As the number of manufacturers grew, so too did the improvements, including the addition of a shift key to activate upper and lower case letters, the size and weight had been reduced but until 1895, but typists could not see what they had typed until the typed page advanced forward.
- In the early 1890s, Franz X Wagner, a German immigrant, engineered the first reliable "visible" typewriter that allowed the typist to see the text as they typed. Wagner had already designed several earlier typing machines. John T. Underwood, producer of office supplies such as carbon paper and ribbons, purchased Wagner's design and manufactured it as the Underwood Model 1 in 1895. Unlike earlier machines, which had an up strike type bar from underneath the paper, the new design in
- After six years and two other models that improved touch, and tab function and provided quieter operation, Underwood came out with the Model 5 in 1900. Compared to earlier machines of the 1870s, this machine is plain. The machine in the collection was produced in 1910. It has a black frame with gold lettering and stripping.
- Date made
- Underwood Typewriter Company
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center