Saturday, December 22, 2012

History Lesson: Just My Type


Until the dawn of the computer age, the constant clickety clack of typewriter keys was part of the mid-century office landscape.

While the concept of a typewriter dates back to at least 1714, the Sholes & Glidden Type Writerwhich began production in late 1873, was the first commercial typewriter to appear on the American market  (in 1874). 

The first Sholes & Glidden was very decorative with numerous painted flowers and decals. It looked similar to a sewing machine, due partly to the fact that is was manufactured by the sewing machine department of the Remington Arms Company. 

The odd-looking machine typed only in capital letters and introduced the world to the QWERTY keyboard which is still with us today. While Sholes & Glidden had limited success, its successor, the Remington, soon became a dominant presence in the industry.

Antique 1906 Remington Standard, Bygrassdoll

While basic typewriter functions remained the same throughout the years, the designs, colors and special features changed and grew with the times. 

The Oliver Standard Visible Typewriter, Lucca Bales Vintage

Olympia Progress typewriter with German keyboard, Anodyne & Ink

Olivetti Lexon 80 typewriter, Artyfactz


I'm sure these early typewriter companies could not have imagined that their machines would one day be stripped of their keys to make jewelry, collage art and scrapbooking projects!  

Antique typewriter keys, The Old Time Junk Shop


To start or add to a typewriter collection, Etsy is a great source for finding these relics of a (noisier) time gone by.

14 comments:

HilltopTimes said...

I am typing away! Keys and clicks to you, Bryan, a fabulous post!

Miss Magpies Shoppe said...

Great blog post, Bryan...you are a wealth of information. What a treasure you are to our team :) I remember years ago, when I was 16, typing away on one of the old antique typewriters in the office of my Mom and Dad's store. What memories you have brought back for me :)

Whimzy Thyme said...

Fantastic! I love old typewriters. I have one that I am thinking about listing but haven't had the heart since I love it. It has a wonderful old case. Wow -- I sure do remember typing class in high school.

mbh said...

LOVE old typewriters! We have three sitting around the living room....thank you so much for the article Bryan :)

BeeJayKay said...

What a great history lesson post! I love these old typewriters! I wish I had room for them around my home!

Niftic Vintage said...

You my friend are a Wonder! What a fabulous and insightful post! Thanks for sharing with all of us Bryan!

Story Tellers Vintage said...

Great subject, I have a 1950s Smith Corona that I've been using to write my good ole' pen pal!
It's simply awesome and I imagine I'm drinking scotch and smoking cigarettes while I type.
Too bad I'm supposed to sell it :)

Jaime Core said...

I also have an old typewriter that I've been pressured to sell but I love it too much! They're so fabulous :)

Kathi said...

What a great post !!! I have my grandfather's typewriter (he was born in 1899- time to get it our and take a good look at it. Thanks Bryan!

gazaboo said...

Such beauties and great usable decor pieces for the vintage office. So much more appealing than the laptop. Wonderful post Bryan, thanks!

Andrea Holding said...

Fabulous post! I hadn't thought much about old typewriters until I started noticing the fabulous colors they came in. I tried pounding one not too long ago and gave up, but, oh, what wonderful decor items they are!

stephania d. said...

wonderful post and gorgeous finds!!

Tracy Mcdaniel said...

I love typing & the "old" typewriters! Both for decor & practicality. Great post!!

Wicked Darling said...

Bryan, this is awesome!!! What a wonderful and informative post!!:)

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