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Type Writer

Type Writer

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Remington put its writing machines on the market in 1874 at a price of $125. The new Type Writer owed some of its identity to the sewing machines that Remington had recently added to its product line. The writing machine came mounted on a sewing machine stand, with a treadle to operate the carriage return and advance the paper on the platen. Even the Type Writer's shiny black case, elaborately decorated with floral designs and emblems, resembled the factory's sewing machines.
This machine is Remington's first model. With it, a writer could type only capital letters. A second model, available in 1878, permitted writing in both upper and lower case. From the beginning, the keyboard was arranged in the enduring QWERTY pattern. The designers adopted the layout to prevent the mechanical type bars, arranged in a circle inside the machine, from clashing in operation.
Although the Remington-made Type Writer was not the first mechanical writing machine, it was the earliest to have commercial success. At first Type Writers sold poorly, although author Mark Twain bought one immediately and described his "new fangled writing machine" in a letter to his brother. Gradually, Remington had success in creating a market for the machines and even spurred competitors to make their own versions. The modern typewriter industry was born.
The introduction and spread of the typewriter accompanied a revolution in the business world. The last twenty-five years of the 19th century witnessed the growth of corporations and the reinvention of the business office. Mechanized work in the office replaced hand work, as specialized machines of all sorts speeded up paper transactions. New designs for furniture specific to the office appeared. The physical appearance of the office building, the composition of the work force, and the very organization of work itself changed. In opening acceptable— but low-level—white-collar work for women, the typewriter became an agent of social change.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Sholes, C. Latham
Glidden, Carlos
E. Remington & Sons
Place Made
United States: New York, Ilion
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
overall: 14 1/4 in x 15 in x 16 1/8 in; 36.195 cm x 38.1 cm x 40.9575 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Computers & Business Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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