Who Invented The Typewriter?

Published: 30th May 2010
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The typewriter is said to have gone through 52 inventions before accomplishing one perfectly usable typewriting machine.

Henry Mill, in the year 1714, gained a patent from the Britain for a machine similar to that of a typewriter. However it was not known if he was the man who invented the typewriter. Pellegrino Turri invented the carbon paper and together with other early machines, they were developed for the blinds.

A machine called the Typowriter patented by William Austin Burt in 1829 was listed among the first typewriting machine. According to the Science Museum in London, it was the first writing mechanism where its invention was documented. This sounded a little exaggerated as Turri's invention was much earlier. Burt and John D. Sheldon did not discover a buyer for the patent hence it was produced commercially. However this invention was slower than handwriting. It used a dial rather than the keys to select the characters thus it was labeled an index typewriter instead of a keyboard typewriter.

By mid 1800s, the overwhelming expansion of business field had increased the need for documentation machines. Telegraphers and stenographers could accommodate information up to 130 words a minute whereas handwriting was limited to only 30 words per minute. In between 1829 to 1870, there were many printing and typing machines patented by inventors in America and Europe but none of them were commercially produced.

Charles Thurber patented few inventions and among them was the Chirographer in 1845. Then in 1855, there was an Italian man, Giuseppe Ravizza who invented the typewriter called "Scribe harpsichord". It was a prototype typewriter to allow users to view the writing while typing. A Brazilian priest also created his own typewriter in 1861. It was made from tools such as woods and knives. The Brazilian emperor even presented a gold medal to the priest for his invention. Brazilians then acknowledged the priest to be the real inventor of typewriter. An American man John Pratt created the Pterotype in 1865 while Peter Mitterhofer, a carpenter from Austria invented few models and later on, a completely usable typewriter in 1867.

In 1865 as well, the Hansen Writing Ball was invented by a Dane, Rasmus Mailing-Hansen. It was commercially produced in 1870 and sold as a typewriter. Being successful in Europe, it was widely used in London until 1909. His usage of solenoid escapement made him a nominee for the first electric typewriting machine inventor. According to a book written by his daughter, Mailing-Hensen made a porcelain model of his writing ball and experimented using various placements of letters to attain the highest typing speed.

The first commercially successful typewriter was invented by C. Latham Sholes, Samuel W. Soule and Carlos Glidden in 1867. However Sholes disowned the machine and even refused to use it later on. The prototype work as made by Matthias Schwalbach and the patent was sold to Densmore and Yost who commercialized the machine as "Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer" and hence the origin of the word "typewriter".

Stuart is writing for many websites, He enjoys writing on wide range of topics such as who invented the typewriter and Who Invented The QWERTY Keyboard. You may visit for more details.

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