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. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. 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. 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
- This Blickensderfer Moderl number 5 typewriter was manufactured by the Blickensderfer Manufacturing Compmany of Stamford, Connecticut between 1893 and 1896. The Blickensderfer was advertised as having one quarter of the parts that other typewriters used, allowing for easier operation, maintenance, and repair. Other features include a tabulator and a scaled with slots for carriage stops. Blickensderfer typewriters also had a patented type action using their patented “type wheel,” a metal wheel containing all the characters which would rotate and strike the paper to create the inked mark. The type wheel allowed for easier type alignment, less jamming, and an easier way to change type fonts. The simplicity of the Blickensderfer made it portable, and this model had a wooden cover with a leather handle for easy carrying. While QWERTY keyboards could be ordered, by default most Blickensderfer typewriters eschewed the QWERTY keyboard in favor of a “Scientific” keyboard that put the most used letters “D, H, I, A, T, E, N, S, O, and R” on the bottom row nearest the space bar to minimize hand movement.
- George C. Blickensderfer founded the Blickensderfer Manufacturing Company in Stamford, Connecticut in 1893. The Blickensderfer Manufacturing Company produced nine different models of typewriters, including an electric typewriter, and operated until George Blickenderfer’s death in 1917. The company was reformed as the Blick Typewriter Company for a few years before the Blickensderfer patents and designs were sold and manufactured by a variety of different companies.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- 1894 - 1897
- Blickensderfer Manufacturing Company
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History