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.

Date Made: 1857

Maker: Francis, Dr. Samuel Ward

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Rhode Island, Rhode Island, Newport

See more items in: Work and Industry: Mechanisms, Typewriters, Computers & Business Machines


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Samuel Ward Francis

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: ME.180060Catalog Number: 180060Accession Number: 21102

Object Name: typewriterOther Terms: typewriter; Manual

Physical Description: wood (overall material)metal (overall material)bone, ivory (overall material)Measurements: 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


Record Id: nmah_850543

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.