10. Sphinx (1913).
The production of this sleek Swiss typewriter was interrupted by the
First World War. Most collectors have never heard of it, but something
about it grabs me. It features a bulbous body, vertically mounted
ribbon spools, and a
luscious decal of two Sphinxes. (Enhanced illustration from
Ernst Martin's Die Schreibmaschine.)
And check out this ribbon tin design by Darryl Rehr,
inspired by the Sphinx typewriter!
9. Edison-Mimeograph Typewriter (1895).
Fortunately, Thomas A. Edison's reputation is unblemished by this
index typewriter. It was not his invention, but a was marketed by A.B.
Dick as a companion to the mimeograph, which Edison did invent.
This machine, though attractive, was slow and was no better at making
mimeographic stencils than any other typewriter. It was soon forced off
8. Saturn (1897). A turn-of-the-century Swiss oddity: you first
select a row
of printed letters on the index, then type on one of the nine keys of
Inefficient? You bet! (Photo from ETCetera #31, June 1995.)
7. Fitch (1891).
This down-stroke-from-the-back typewriter has a distinctive look and a
keyboard arrangement. The papers coils up in front and behind the
I finally got a Fitch in 2007 -- but traded it in 2012 for a Sholes
& Glidden (keep reading).
6. Maskelyne (1893).
The substantial and elegant Maskelyne, a British writing machine, is
from a pad, prints 96 characters, and uses proportional spacing --
a feature of printed books and modern computer fonts. Good show!
In the Maskelyne's "grasshopper" mechanism, also used by the Williams,
typebars "hop" up from the ink pad and onto the platen.
5. Sholes & Glidden (1873). The granddaddy of all American
manufactured writing machines, this
"Type-Writer" was invented primarily by Christopher L. Sholes of
Sholes & Gliddens have many minor variants;
often they are decorated with decals and painted flowers.
To read more about the S&G, see
A Brief History of Typewriters and visit Darryl Rehr's Web site
"The First Typewriter."
4. Peirce Accounting Typewriter (1912).
One of several turn-of-the-century typewriters designed to type in
bound accounting books, the stately Peirce bears an eerie
resemblance to a computer terminal
-- and to a stool.
Unsolved mystery: is this machine any relation to American pragmatist
philosopher Charles S. Peirce?
3. Hammond 1 (1881).
The pioneer of the long-lived Hammond line is encased in wood
and has a curved
keyboard of a unique design known as the "Ideal"
(this keyboard was also available on later models).
Speaking of Peirce, he used one of these!
To read more about Hammonds,
visit this page.
I acquired a Hammond 1 in 2003.
Click here to see my
restoration work on it.
2. Blickensderfer Electric (1st model 1902, 2nd 1913?).
The Blick Electric was 60 years ahead of its time. Like most manual
it printed from an interchangeable typewheel and an ink roller --
and it was fully electrified.
This at a time when electricity was a luxury used mostly for nighttime
illumination. IBM Selectric, eat your heart out!
1. Crandall (1881).
Invented by one of the pioneers of typewriter production, Lucien S.
this type-cylinder machine appeared in several models.
The New Model, shown below, is inlaid with
mother-of-pearl and has to be one of
the most beautiful writing machines ever built.
I found a Crandall in 2003. (See
a larger picture here.)