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Remington Noiseless

Remington Noiseless

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Description
E. Remington and Sons, also a manufacturer of sewing machines, received production and distribution rights for the typewriter, patented in the U.S. in 1868, in 1873. Although Remington displayed a machine at the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia, which attracted some attention to the novel technology, typewriting machines were not popular right away as people could not see the utility of a costly machine over writing. A combination of advertising and promotion, the expansion of business (and within that office or clerical work), and a growing emphasis on office efficiency helped spur the typewriter’s popularity and create a new occupation for women. The 1870 census lists 7 “stenographers and typewriters” (the latter a term for the person/occupation, not yet the machine). By 1900 the number had increased over 300%, and by 1920 the census listed half a million typists. The decade of the 1880s in particular proved a turning point as institutions such as the YWCA, vocational schools, and typewriter manufacturers themselves offered typing courses for women, training in transcription rather than composition. Some women celebrated the advent of the typewriter and its attendant jobs as a new professional opportunity and path to economic independence, albeit one with few opportunities for advancement. Most typists were young, unmarried women, meaning that the profession received some criticism for being filled with temptresses and husband hunters.
Adoption of the typewriter changed not only office work but office spaces—demographically due to the influx of women but also the material and sensory environment, as the aspirational term “noiseless” suggests. Typewriters could be noisy, especially many in one space such as typing or secretarial pool in which a group of women sat together in a room but at individual machines transcribing documents. Inventors attempted to create and patent “noiseless” machines beginning around the turn of the twentieth century, and in 1923 George Gould Going applied for the patent behind this machine. In 1924 Remington merged with the Noiseless Typewriter Company. The Remington Noiseless was not in fact silent but a mechanism served to dampen and lower the frequency of the sounds made by the striking of keys. The company touted the “noiselessness” in newspaper advertisements for this 1940 model, which cost approximately $70 (almost $1300 in 2020 currency).
Object Name
Typewriter
date made
1940
maker
Remington Rand Inc.
Physical Description
ferrous metal, non-ferrous white metal, paint, rubber, plastic (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 10 3/4 in x 16 in x 15 1/4 in; 27.305 cm x 40.64 cm x 38.735 cm
ID Number
ME.330855
catalog number
330855
accession number
299352
subject
Women's History
Typewriter
Clerks
Clerical occupations
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Exhibition
Girlhood
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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