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115^ 



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HARVARD 

COLLF^ 
LIB" 





i 



THE EARLY HISTORY 

of the 

TYPEWRITER 



By 

CHAS. E. WELLER 

Secretary National Shorthand 

Reporters' Association 



LA PORTE. INDIANA 
CHASK S SHEPHERD, PRINTERS 



"W '! 



? ) 




Copyright 1918 
BY Charles E. Weller 





CHRISTOPHER LATHAM SHOLES 
"The Father of the Typewriter" 

Horn Feb. 14, 1819— Died Feb. 17, 1890. 



PREFACE 

The history of invention is always an in- 
teresting subject, dealing as it does more 
directly with the philanthropic and humane 
phase of character. Millionaire merchants, 
manufacturers and captains of industry 
who have sprung up during the past half 
century have accumulated their collossal 
wealth through their ability to make the 
best use of the material which nature has 
so lavishly bestowed; and yet how litHc 
could they have accomplished without the 
aid of the thousands of useful appliances 
from the least to the greatest which have 
entered all fields of industry in this wonder- 
ful age of invention. 

It is to the patient toil of the inventor 
who in his laboratory or workshop has em- 
bodied the product of his brain in the per- 
fection of a mechanism which has inured to 
the benefit and happiness of mankind that 
the world owes its greatest debt of grat- 
itude and honor. 

5 



6 THE EARLY HISTORY 

In following this simple narrative of the 
inception and development of the first prac- 
tical typewriter the reader is asked to put 
aside all thoughts of the many excellent 
typewriting machines that flood the market 
today, each with its own claim of peculiar 
excellence over its competitor, while we re- 
vert back to a half century, when nothing 
existed to replace the painfully slow and 
tedious method of reducing thought to writ- 
ing ])y means of pen and ink, and follow the 
details of the creation and development of 
a mechanism, crude and cumbrous in its 
first workings, but destined in time to cre- 
ate a revolution in the conduct of affairs in 
all parts of the civilized world. 

The narrative grows out of the recollec- 
tion of one who is the only person 
now living of those who composed the little 
group who watched the construction of the 
first typewriter from its first inception to 
its successful completion in the little ma- 
chine shop in the city of Milwaukee during 
the late summer and fall of 1867. 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 

THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE 
TYPEWRITER 



(From a paper read at the Tenth Annual Conven- 
tion of the National Shorthand Reporters' Asso- 
ciation.) 



Sometime during the month of July, 1867, 
while employed as chief operator in the 
office of the Western Union Telegraph 
Company in the city of Milwaukee, Wis., 
Mr. C. Latham Sholes, whom I had known 
for some years, called at the office and 
asked for a sheet of carbon paper, some- 
thing which was rarely used in those days, 
except in making duplicate copies of Asso- 
ciated Press reports received by telegraph 
for the daily press. 

Upon complying with his request he cas- 
ually remarked that if I would call at his 
office the next day at about noon he would 
show me something that he thought wDutd 
be interesting. Knowing that Mr. Slides 



8 THE EARLY HISTORY 

possessed a remarkable inventive genius, 
having been the first to conceive of the 
method of addressing newspapers by print- 
ing the names of subscribers on the mar- 
gin, and having later invented a machine 
for paging blank books and the consecutive 
numbering of bank notes, I was prepared 
for an exhibition of something novel in this 
instance. Upon calling at his office the next 
day in the Federal building where he then 
occupied the government position of Col- 
lector of the Port of Milwaukee, I found 
him in company with a gentleman explain- 
ing a little piece of mechanism on tlie to- 
ble before them, the base of which consist- 
ed of a piece of pine board, above which, 
supported by wooden pegs was a ring rude- 
ly fashioned out of wood with a jack knife, 
on the edge of which was set four other 
pegs supporting a circular piece of glass; 
on the side of the ring was pivoted a small 
brass bar about two inches in length, on the 
upper end of which was cut the letter "w." 
Beneath this bar and on the wooden base 
was affixed an ordinary Morse telegraph 
"key" arranged in such manner that by 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 9 

striking the round button end of the key a 
smart tap with the finger the type bar was 
quickly thrown up against the circular piece 
of glass above, striking it exactly in the 
center. By holding a piece of carbon pa- 
per with a thin piece of white paper against 
the piece of glass and moving it slowly 
with one hand while the key was being 
struck rapidly with the other hand, a regu- 
lar and perfect line of w's was produced 
similar to this: 

wwwwwwwwwwwwww 



10 THE EARLY HISTORY 



I have since prepared a model of tin's 
little device which is here shown, and is a 
reproduction as near as 
The First Model it could be made in the 
absence of the origi- 
nal. 

If you will bear in mind that at that tin.'.^ 
we had never known of printing by any 
other method than the slow process of set- 
ting the types and getting an impression 
therefrom by means of a press, you may 
imagine our surprise at the facility with 
which this one letter of the alphabet could 
be printed by the manipulation of the key. 
But while the printing of one letter in this 
manner was very clearly demonstrated, it 
was not easy to understand how the prin- 
ciple could be extended to printing words 
arranged in regular lines, which Mr. Sholes 
stated could be done, and then proceeded 
to explain the method. He explained to us 
that a number of brass bars would be made 
similar to the one before us, each bar hav- 
ing a letter of the alphabet cut on the end 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 11 

at a slight angle, and striking upwards at a 
common center in such manner that one 
letter would follow the other as the keys 
were struck, in regular order and align- 
ment. In order to accomplish this he pro- 
posed to construct a metal rim or disk with 




a circular aperture; around this metal rim 
would be cut a series of slots corresponding 
to the number of characters to be used, into 
which would be pivoted the type bars in 
such manner that each type bar would 
move freely up and down in its particular 



12 THE EARLY HISTORY 

slot. This metal rim with the type bars 
thus fastened in the slots was to be firmly 
fastened inside of a circular aperture to be 
cut in the center of a small table, the aper- 
ture to be slightly larger than the metal 
rim, to allow free play for the wires con- 
necting with the keys, the typebars to be 
held in place by a large wire running 
around the inside of the rim, and at the butt 
end of the type bars and back of the hole 
through which the wire ran attaching them 
to the slot would be drilled another hole 
connecting the type bar with the key. The 
front of the small table was to be cut out 
sufficiently to allow a little key-board to be 
placed, similar to the key-board of a small 
melodeon. The wire connected with the 
end of each key would run down to a small 
wooden trivet which worked on a rod, sim- 
ilar to the rod connected with the treadle 
of a sewing machine. On the opposite end 
of each trivet would be attached another 
wire reaching up to the end of the type bar, 
so that when a key was depressed the wire 
attached to it would raise one end of the 
trivet, and at the same time pull down the 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 13 

wire attached to the other end and con- 
necting with the type bar above and throw 
it up against the paper, producing an im- 
pression of the letter by means of an inked 
ribbon passing above the paper. 

In order to furnish a base or platen 
against which the letters would strike it 
was proposed to affix a metal arm firmly at- 
tached to the back of the table and curving 
over to the center of the aperture constitut- 
ing the common center at which each letter 
would strike; the inked ribbon which passed 
between the paper and the platen would be 
wound and unwound upon spools at each 
end of the table, the spools being connected 
with the key movement in such manner that 
with each stroke of the key a fresh surface 
would be exposed for the printing of the 
next letter. The paper which was to move 
simultaneously with the ribbon was to be 
enclosed in a flat metal frame, clamped at 
each corner, and moving the space of a let- 
ter with each stroke of the key. The paper 
carriage was to be affixed to a ratchet, a 
steel bar at the back of the table in which 
teeth were cut at equal distances apart, in 



14 THE EARLY HISTORY 

which played the little escapement dog con- 
nected with the keys by means of a univer- 
sal bar, thus making the necessary space 
for each letter as it moved back and forth 
with each stroke of the key, while a blank 
key served as a space key when struck be- 
tween each word. The motive power con- 
trolling the movement of the paper frame 
and ribbon was an ordinary clock-work 
mechanism, a drum around which passed a 
cord to which was attached a leaden weight, 
to be wound up at intervals as it ran down. 
A little bell at the end of the ratchet would 
give the signal for changing the line, which 
was done by pressing the foot on a treadle 
at the right, connected by a cord with the 
paper frame, which movement would bring 
the frame back to the starting point and at > 
the same time automatically changing the 
line. 

I have endeavored in a crude way to de- 
scribe the general operation of the machine 
as it was explained to us by the inventor 
at that time. With my extremely limited 
knowledge of mechanics and the technical 
terms used in connection with such matters 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 15 

I have not been able to make it as plain as 
I would like to do. In order to convey a 
better idea of the various parts entering in- 
to the first machine that w^as constructed I 
take the liberty of quoting from the patent 
some of the chief claims under which it was 
issued to Mr. Sholes and his associates. 

The patent is dated July 14, 1868, and is 
granted to C. Latham Sholes, Carlos Glid- 
den and Samuel W. Soule of Milwaukee. 
Wis. The device is described as "a new 
and useful improvement in typewriting ma- 
chines." I quote from the application as 
follows: 

**Our invention relates to that class of 
machines designed to write with types in- 
stead of a pen, and the nature and principal 
feature of our improvements consist of a 
circular annular disk, provided with slots 
and grooves to hold and guide the type 
bars, a concentric groove around the peri- 
phery of the disk, to hold, support and 
guide the pivots of the type bars, the com- 
bination of rods, levers and keys for work- 
ing the type bars, a carriage combined and 
provided with a pivotal pawl, arm and pins. 



16 THE EARLY HISTORY 

and attachments to move the paper verti- 
cally and laterally, and the combination of 
a rod and clamps, to hold the paper fast in 
the carriage." 

Then follows a detailed description of the 
machine by reference to the drawings at- 
tached thereto. This brief description, 
however, is probably sufficient for our pur- 
pose at this time. It will be noticed that 
the device described contains the main prin- 
ciples which are seen in all type-bar ma- 
chines of the present day. 

The gentleman who was present with Mr. 
Sholes in his office on this occasion was 
Mr. Carlos S. Glidden, who afterwards be- 
came interested with Mr. Sholes in the 
manufacture of the machine. I afterwards 
met Mr. S. W. Soule, a practical machinist 
of Milwaukee who was to have the imme- 
diate oversight of its construction, and to 
whom, as well as Mr. Glidden, Mr. Sholes 
at a later date freely acknowledged his in- 
debtedness for many valuable suggestions 
in connection with the mechanical features 
of the machine. 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 



17 




The home of the first typewriter 



18 THE EARLY HISTORY 



A few days after this occasion the actual 
construction of the machine was begun, 
in a little shop in the 
Home of First northern part of the city 
Typewriter which was known as 

Kleinsteuber's machine 
shop. 

1 had become greatly interested in the 
invention from the first, realizing in a dim 
way the important part that it was to per- 
form in superseding the pen in all branches 
of business, and especially in the line of 
work for which I was preparing, as a short- 
hand court reporter; and in order to dem- 
onstrate its practical work Mr. Sholes 
promised' me the first machine that would 
leave the shop. 

The construction of the first machine was 
naturally a slow process, nearly all of its 
p^rts being entirely new to the workmen, 
and as each piece required to be made by 
hand, it necessitated the most careful su- 
pervision, especially the casting of the type 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 19 

bars and the cutting of the letters on them, 
the slotting of the disk, the arrangement of 
the basket in which the type bars would 
rest, and the adjustment of the various de- 
vices, most important of which was the 
making and adjustment of the little steel 
*'dog" with its escapement which controlled 
the action of the paper carriage. 

Each of these processes was watched 
with almost breathless interest by the two 
or three interested spectators who made 
their daily pilgrimage of a mile or more to 
the dingy little machine shop in which the 
work was being carried on. I have been 
using the word "machine" in this connec- 
tion, because it was the only name by which 
it was designated at that time. The adop- 
tion of a suitable name, however, was be- 
ing discussed at this time by Mr. Sholes 
and his associates. "Printing machine" was 
first suggested, but the name did not meet 
with favor as describing the work it was 
designed to accomplish. "Writing ma- 
chine" was also suggested, but as the work 
would be in printed letters the word "writ- 
ing" seemed inapplicable. At length Mr. 



20 THE EARLY HISTORY 

Sholes suggested the name "typewriter." 
This was subject to the same objection, and 
there was some discussion as to whether 
the name "printing machine'* was not a bet- 
ter name after all, but "typewriter" was an 
unusual name and had a unique sound, and 
so it was finally adopted, and then for the 
first time was heard a name, sounding odd- 
ly enough at that time, but which has now 
become so common throughout the civil- 
ized world that we wonder that any other 
name was thought of. 

Our interest in the work became more 
and more absorbing as it progressed, and 
the various parts completed and assembled. 
The keys were of black walnut, about three 
inches long and a quarter of an inch wide, 
with the letter of the alphabet to which it 
was attached painted m white on each key 
while between each key was a space suffi- 
cient to insert shorter keys similar to the 
black keys of the piano, which were used 
for the figures and punctuation marks. 
The figures ran from 2 to 9, the letter '*!" 
being used for the first figure and **0" was 
used for the cypher. Added to these were 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 21 

the semi-colon, the dollar mark, the hy- 
phen, the period, the comma and interroga- 
tion point, and a diagonal stroke which was 
used for the parenthesis. The keys being 
attached to the type bars and working in 
unison with the carriage movement enabled 
us for the first time to test the work of 
printing words and sentences. We were 
then in the midst of an exciting political 
campaign, and it was then for the first time 
that the well known sentence was inaugu- 
rated, — "Now is the time for all good men 
to come to the aid of the party;" also the 
opening sentence of the Declaration of In- 
dependence, "When in the course of human 
events," etc., which sentences were repeat- 
ed many times in order to test the speed of 
the machine. 

At about the time of the completion of 
the first machine, in the late fall of 1867, I 
removed from Milwaukee to St. Louis, at 
which place Mr. Sholes in accordance with . 
his promise shipped to me the first machine 
that went out of the shop. It arrived in St. 
Louis about the middle of January, 1868. 
In the meantime I had become connected 



22 THE EARLY HISTORY 

with the shorthand firm of Walbridge & 
Allen who were the only verbatim reporters 
in the city at that time. 

Note: Since the writing of this paper I have re- 
ceived the following clipping from the St. Louis 
Star, dated January 15th, 1918, which corroborates 
the above statement as to the date of the shipment 
of the first machine to St. Louis. This item appears 
under the head of 

"FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY," 

and reads as follows : "At this time the first practi- 
cal typewriter made its appearance in St. Louis. The 
small item reads : 'A Printing Machine — We saw to- 
day in the office of Messrs. Walbridge, Allen & Wel- 
ler, phonographic reporters, a machine for printing, 
which they use in transcribing their notes. It is the 
invention of Hon. C. L. Sholes of Milwaukee, practi- 
cal printer and prominent citizen. It is capable of 
printing fifty words a minute, the impressions being 
all in capital letters. Its principal advantage is in 
producing legible copy, and will be a joy to printers 
who now labor with the bad penmanship of writers." 

This item is dated January 15, 1868, 
which was more than five years before the 
manufacture was turned over to the Rem- 
ington Arms Co., Ilion, N. Y. 

In the meantime Mr. Sholes with 
the little means that he could ob- 
tain had manufactured several machines 
in the Kleinsteuber machine shop, 
each embodying some new feature as 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 23 

the work progressed, which will be shown 
in Mr. Sholes* letters which fortunately 
have been preserved, and which will appear 
later. 

During the winter of 1868 shorthand re- 
porting was in its infancy in St. Louis, es- 
pecially as to its use in the court in report- 
ing testimony. The lawyers looked with 
suspicion on shorthand, which they consid- 
ered very unreliable, probably by reason of 
the crude work of novices with no skill or 
experience in the work of court reporting, 
and our efforts during that season were 
principally confined to attempts to per- 
suade lawyers to abandon their old method 
of taking scraps of testimony in longhand, 
and afterwards disputing with each other 
as to just what the witness had stated, until 
with the aid of the rough notes that the 
judge had taken together with his recoUec- 
ion of what was testified they were finally 
able to patch up a bill of exceptions. 

During the entire court season of that 
year by much persuasion we succeeded in 
securing the reporting of two and a half 
cases in court. The "half case" which in- 



24 THE EARLY HISTORY 

volved some two hundred thousand dollars 
had been running several days before they 
would consent to have the balance of it re- 
ported, and we probably wouldn't have se- 
cured that case, were it not for the fact 
that Mr. Allen, had studied and graduated 
as an attorney at law in a Massachusetts 
court before coming to St. Louis, and had 
a somewhat intimate acquaintance with the 
members of the St. Louis bar which was 
considerable assistance to us in securing 
work. 

A funny little incident comes to my mind 
right here, which illustrates another objec- 
tion which we had to encounter in those 
early days of shorthand, in connection with 
the commercial end of it, and the horror 
with which our rather modest charge was 
regarded by the unfortunate clients who 
were required to pay our bills. In this half 
of a case our transcript was naturally quite 
voluminous, involving as it did about three 
days solid note-taking, and when Mr. Allen 
presented our bill, duly certified by the at- 
torney, to the dignified president of the cor- 
poration, a gentleman of the old school, he 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 25 

studied it carefully from beginning to end, 
including the instructions to pay it, signed 
by his chosen attorney whose word was law 
to him, then called his bookkeeper and di- 
rected him to make out a check for the 
amount, which was about $150, and after 
signing the check and receiving the receipt- 
ed bill he said to Mr. AUen with the utmost 
gravity, "I would like to ask you one ques- 
tion. Does anybody ever employ you gen- 
tlemen more than once?" 

In this condition of affairs we certainly 
fared very poorly so far as the legal work 
was concerned, but we were much more 
fortunate with our newspaper work, which 
was an important feature in those days, 
when the winter course of lyceum lectures 
and all meetings, whether political, profes- 
sional or religious, were reported in full for 
the Missouri Democrat, an evident misno- 
mer for a Republican paper, which was the 
leading morning daily in St. Louis, — now 
the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Added to 
this newspaper work, however, was a long 
impeachment trial of a circuit court judge 
out in the state, which Mr. Walbridge had 



26 THE EARLY HISTORY 

reported during the previous year, and had 
been holding his notes until the meeting of 
the legislature, when the transcript was or- 
dered by the state, and with that work we 
put in the most of our time during the 
winter. 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 27 



It was on that case that we had the op- 
portunity of testing the practical working 
of the first typewriter, and I am happy to 

say that in spite of 
Practical Work of crude workmanship in 
First Machine some of its parts we 

were able to do consid- 
erable work with it. As the transcript was 
prepared for the printer it did not require the 
neat work that would have been demanded 
in depositions and transcripts of testimony 
and court proceedings. 

One of the principal objections to the 
use of the machine for depositions and 
transcripts of court testimony was the fact 
that in the construction of the first machine 
it was thought necessary to use very thin 
paper, and in order to get a satisfactory im- 
pression that the type should first strike 
the paper and get its impression through 
the paper from the ink ribbon passing over 
it, so that although the first typewriter was 
a visible machine, it was made so from the 
fact that it was thought that only in this 



28 THE EARLY HISTORY 

way could the work be done. Sometime 
afterwards, however, when the roller took 
the place of the flat paper frame it was 
found that by putting the ink ribbon next to 
the type instead of between the paper and 
the platen a good impression could be ob- 
tained on paper of any thickness, but in 
doing so the visible feature had to be aban- 
doned. When this was discovered Mr. 
Sholes laughed over his own obtuseness 
and that of his associates, that they should 
have been so long in discovering this sim- 
ple little change which made so much dif- 
ference in the character of the work. 

To those familiar with the modern type- 
writer with all its latest improvements it 
is indeed a wonder that a machine of the 
crude construction that I have attempted 
lo describe would do any kind of practical 
work. It had no bearings of finely polished 
steel in which each type bar could rest and 
do its work properly. The type bars were 
simply pieces of straight brass, with the 
letters cut on the end, the type bar being 
fastened in the slot by a large brass wire 
set in a groove inside the circle of the disk. 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 29 

and as may well be imagined there was 
more or less sticking of the type bar in the 
slot, instead of quickly returning to its 
place after being struck, and it was not an 
uncommon thing to find a few type bars 
bunched up in the center, which of course 
stopped all operations until they could be 
pried apart and gotten back into their 
places preparatory to a fresh start. 

Then, too, the clock-work motor was not 
always equal to the occasion, and we would 
have to increase its power by adding to the 
leaden weight a jack knife or a paper 
weight or a pair of shears or whatever 
might be at hand for the purpose; this add- 
ed weight was sometimes too great for the 
cord, which would occasionally break, let- 
ting the weight down with a crash, and in 
such cases it was very necessary to keep 
one's toes out of the way or suffer some 
rather serious consequences. 

The machine also had a habit of stutter- 
ing, so to speak, occasioned by the sticking 
of the type bar in the slot which I have 
described, which was extremely annoying 
when one was in a hurry. For instance, 



30 THE EARLY HISTORY 

when one started out on a sentence com- 
mencing with the letter "T" in place of 
the sentence we would have a long row of 
T's, indicating that the T had stuck in the 
slot, and the other letters were hammering 
up against it in a vain attempt to do their 
duty. Then again, at times the little steel 
"dog" with its escapement working back 
and forth in the ratchet which controlled 
the movement of the paper frame would 
fail to do its work properly, and the car- 
riage would jump an inch or two, or per- 
haps half a line, stopping with a sudden 
jerk, which was calculated to make one 
nervous, to say the least. 

I have been describing the actions of the 
machine in some of its worst moods. But 
don't imagine for a moment that this was a 
continuous affair. There were times when 
everything worked beautifully, and the 
speed that could be gotten out of it at such 
times was something marvelous, especially 
when we got onto that familiar sentence, 
"Xow is the time for all good men to come 
to the aid of the party." When we talk 
about "greased lightning," why, it wasn't 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 31 

in it at all. I wont say but that our expert 
typist, Mr. McGurrin here, if he had been 
there with his little speed-dog and his hair- 
trigger adjustment and was in a mood for 
doing some of his stunts, might possibly 
have beaten us just a trifle, but he would 
have had to hump himself to do it. 



^2 THE EARLY HISTORY 



It may be interesting at this remote peri- 
od to note the manner in which we pro- 
cured and prepared our ink ribbons in 
those primitive typewrit- 
Primitive Type- er days, when one be- 
writer Ribbon came worn out and use- 
less. In those days we 
couldn't telephone for a black, blue, or pur- 
ple record or copying ribbon and a few 
minutes later behold a messenger at the 
door with a little tin box containing the 
best up-to-date article wrapped in oiled pa- 
per with an envelope of tin foil, and a reel 
with which to attach it to the ribbon device. 
No, indeed. On such occasions it became 
necessary to visit the nearest dry goods 
establishment and select a bolt of silk or 
satin ribbon which was the only material 
that we could find to answer the purpose, 
and having purchased it, we would buy a 
pint bottle of black ink and pour it into a 
wash bowl, and after unrolling the bolt of 
ribbon we would immerse it in the ink and 
allow it to remain until it was thoroughly 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 33 

saturated, and then towards evening before 
going home we would take it out of the ink 
and string it back and forth over the chairs 
and other furniture, and leave it to dry over 
night. It was anything but a pleasant job, 
and would hardly have been allowed in our 
modern offices with their fine outfit of ma- 
hogany furniture and Brussels rugs, but in 
those days of rough, bare floors, box wood 
stoves, sawdust cuspidors and Windsor 
chairs and smoke-blackened walls such op- 
erations could be carried on, as Mrs. Par- 
tington would say, "with perfect impurity." 
In the meantime Mr. Sholes and his as- 
sociates were doing everything within their 
power to further improve and perfect the 
machine, and some time later I received a 
letter from Mr. Sholes suggesting that I 
send my machine back, to be replaced by 
another containing the latest improve- 
ments. This was done, and sometime aft- 
erwards the perfected machine was re- 
ceived, embodying a number of changes, in 
the fall of 1870. This machine was a great 
contrast, compared with the former one, 
and so far different in its outside appear- 



34 THE EARLY HISTORY 

ance as to be hardly recognizable. The 
machine varied but an inch or two in size 
from the present typewriter, but the iron 
frame instead of being open at the sides 
was inclosed with thin wooden boards 
handsomely polished, painted and var- 
nished, which gave it a very neat and at- 
tractive appearance. 

I have many times wished, however, that 
the first machine which was manufactured 
under the patent of 1868 had been preserved 
intact. It would have been a most interest- 
ing and valuable relic as an exhibit in this 
day, when typewriters are flooding all parts 
of the civilized world; but the original ma- 
chine together with several others which 
were made during the experimental stage 
of the work was undoubtedly broken up 
and relegated to the scrap pile, except those 
parts that could be worked into other ma- 
chines. 

It is somewhat amusing, however, h, 
passing one of our elegantly appointed 
typewriter salesrooms to find among the 
latest up to date machines exhibited in the 
plate glass show window a sorry looking 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 35 

old specimen that would appear to have 
passed through fire and water, bearing in 
prominent letters the legend "The First 
Typewriter," knowing it to be a type of ma- 
chine that was manufactured fully ten years 
later than the one I have attempted to f-e- 
scribe. 

We also find here and there a person re 
ferred to in the daily press as being the 
one who operated the first typewriter. 

A few years ago an article appeared ii. 
the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune, 
giving the name and residence of a geiuhj- 
man in the east who was credited with the 
distinction of having possessed and operat- 
ed the first typewriter that was manufac- 
tured sometime about the year 1878 A 
statement was sent to the Tribune at 
the time giving the facts briefly as to the 
date on which the first typewriter wis c in- 
structed and the name of its inventor, 
which was omitted from the statement, 
which the writer probably thought wasn't 
worth mentioning. This correction was re- 
turned to the writer with a polite note from 
that reliable journal to the effect thai a rule 



36 THE EARLY HISTORY 

of the office prohibited the publication of 
corrections of that character, which of 
course settled the business, so far as that 
journal was concerned, and in all probabil- 
ity the gentleman, who happened to be a 
man of some note, is still modestly wearing 
his honors and enjoying the fame which 
some enterprising writer had thrust upon 
him. 

Occasionally too, there are some of our 
lady typewriter operators who are wont to 
claim that distinction. Very lately a young 
lady who had recently come to St. Louis 
from Chicago claimed to have brought the 
first machine from that city to St. Louis, 
but inasmuch as the young lady couldn't 
have been older than 20, and the first type- 
writer was built fully twenty years before 
she was born, the validity of her claim is 
somewhat doubtful. Probably, if the truth 
were known there is a lady in this audience 
today who may rightly claim to have oper- 
ated the first typewriter that was manufac- 
tured, during the winter of 1868. 



OF THE TYPEWRITER Z1 



The second machine which was sent to 
me in the fall of 1870 was, as I have stated, 
so decidedly different from the first con- 
struction that it will bear a de- 
Improved scription as to some of its parts. 
Machine .In the first place, the rude 
of 1870 wooden keys contained in the 
first machine were replaced by 
metal rods with a thin brass button on 
which the letter or figure was cut and paint- 
ed black. The connecting wires instead of 
running down to trivets near the floor ran 
directly from the end of the key to the type 
bar above, and instead of the plain slot in 
the brass disk, which had given us so much 
trouble in the first machine the type bars 
were set in steel bearings, very much the 
same as we see in the latest modern con- 
struction. The carriage movement and pa- 
per holding device was so widely divergent 
from the first construction that it will re- 
quire some explanation. Instead of the flat 
paper frame there was a rubber roller, 
which varied from the roller now in use, 



38 THE EARLY HISTORY 

being twice as large in circumference, and 
instead of moving laterally from left to 
right in printing the lines the roller moved 
forward with each stroke of the key, in the 
same way that it now moves in changing 
the lines, while the line was changed by 
the roller moving down the space of a line 
on the rod after it had completed a revolu- 
tion. In other words, the movement of the 
roller in printing and changing the line was 
exactly the reverse of the present construc- 
tion. The paper was the same length as 
the roller, and was curved around it lapping 
over sufficiently to allow a margin, and se- 
cured at the ends by steel clamps very 
much like the ankle guards that a bicycle 
rider uses today. Notwithstanding this pe- 
culiar arrangement of the paper on the roll- 
er the work accomplished was very satis- 
factory and far superior to the flat paper 
frame. Bear in mind that this was away 
back in 1870, and during the three years 
following while the construction was being 
carried on under Mr. Sholes' direction oth- 
er important changes were made, resulting 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 39 

in the paper passing under an ordinary 
sized roller the same as is done today. 

These various changes are mentioned in 
the letters from Mr. Sholes which were re- 
ceived by me between 1870 and 1873 which 
fortunately have been preserved while the 
earlier ones that were written between 1868 
and 1870 were lost or destroyed, not realiz- 
ing at the time their value in after years in 
exhibiting the work of the first machine. 

These letters were written in Mr. Sholes' 
free and easy style, as an older man would 
naturally write to a young friend. 

Under date of April 21, 1870, he writes 
as follows: 

"Nil Desperandum'' — which, being liber- 
ally interpreted, means 'don't despair.' Not- 
withstanding I had the machine done some 
time ago, I still continue to make valual)le 
improvements * * * * I have now but one 
spacing wheel, instead of two, as on your 
machine. The weight is connected directly 
with the printing shaft, without the inter- 
vention of any pulley and belt. This ma- 
chine runs thirty lines without winding. It 
is so fixed also that I can make paragraphs 



40 THE EARLY HISTORY 

by merely touching a key, as in spacing the 
letters. This is a very great improvement, 
as you will readily understand. You had 
better have an entirely new machine, as it 
is scarcely worth while to work that over 
with so few characters in it. I am in a hur- 
ry, and must stop. 

SHOLES." 

MILWAINCCC. VISeOMSINi «»ftlL tit ISTO. 
CHANLIC-'*- 

HIL OIVPKRANOUM.— WHICH BCINC LIBKRALLV INTCRPMTtD« MUN« 
OONT OCS»«l«. HOTWITHSTAHOINC I MAO THK MACHINC DONE SOMKTIMC 
AOO. I VTICL CONTINUC TO MAKE VALUABLE IMPROVEMENTS. THI» MACH. 
INC It CLEPHANE*. «HICH I HAVE MADE OVER TO THE NEW STYLE. 

I HAVE NOW BUT ONE SPACING WHEEL. INSTEAD OF TWO. AS ON VO. 
UR MACHINE. THE WEIGHT IS CONNECTED DIRECTLY WITH THE MINTING 
SHAFT. WITHOUT THE INTBAVCNTION UF ANY PULLEY AND ■BkT. THIS 
MACHINE RUNS THIRTY LINES WITHOUT WINDINC IT IS SO FIXED. ALSO 
THAT I CAN MAKE PARAGRAPHS BY MERELY TOUCHING A KEY. AS IN SPACI 
•m THE LETTERS. THIS IS A VERY GREAT IMPROVEMENT. AS VOV 
WILL READILY UNDERSTAND. YOU HAD BETTER HAVE AN ENTIRELY NEW 

MACHINE. AS IT IS SCARCELY WORTH WHILE TO WORK THAT OVER WITH 
SO FEW CHARACTERS IN IT I AM IN A HURRY AND MUST STOP. 

YOURS. ETC. SHOLES. 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 41 

Under date of July 30th, 1870, Mr. Sholes 
writes as follows: 

"Yours came to hand yesterday. I will 
make one of the new machines for you. It 
will be done before November. This is a 
specimen of the manner in which it will 
work; that is to say, a specimen of the 
style of work. I think the machine is now 
as perfect in its mechanism as I know how 
to make it, or to have it made. It develops 
no difficulities whatever. I think this has 
not failed to space once since it has been 
started — now a week, and I see no reason 
to fear that it will fail to space in a year. 
The belt has too much ink on it yet, but 
that is not so bad as having too little. I 
know of no respect in which I can improve 
it. 

The paragraphs are made by simply 
touching a key, as in the case of spacing 
the letters, and by bearing a little on the 
key it operates as a brake, and keeps the 
cylinder from shooting around too fast. 
It is as easy to write or copy poetry on it 
as prose. 



42 THE EARLY HISTORY 

The machine is done, and I want some 
more worlds to conquer. Life will be most 
flat, stale and unprofitable without some- 
thing to invent." 

Nevertheless, it would seem that the ma- 
chine is not quite done yet, as he writes 
under date of September 28, 1870, two 
months later, as follows: (See pa^e 43.) 

"I have made another most important 
change in the machine, having dispensed 
with the slotted disk altogether. My disk 
now consists simply of a flat ring about 
an inch broad and a quarter of an inch 
thick, around which the hammers are hung, 
each one on an independent journal of its 
own. The top of the disk is, of course, 
all open on the plan, and easily accessible 
with a brush to clean the types, or the hand 
to arrange anything that may be out of or- 
der, and the hamliiers can never stick, as 
they never touch anything but the little 
steel journals on which they swing. The 
ease and freedom and beauty with which 
this machine works is truly wonderful. I 
do not refer to the beauty of its print, but 
the beauty of its working. The type are 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 43 

MILVAUMEEt WISCONSIN, SePTKMeCR 19, ISIO. 
CHARLIE—- 

I BEALL1 FOROET WHETHER I AnSWERGO »*UR LAST LETTER OR NOT. 
I AM WORKINO NOW ON AN AVARA6E ABOUT SIXTEEN HOURS A OAV AND HAVE 
NOT MUCH TIME TO 00 ANY THING ASIDE FROM tY REGULAR WORK, NOR IN> 
OEEO TO RECOLLECT ANY THINO. YOU iNVITEOlME DOWN THERE BUT IT IS 
aulTE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO OOME UNLESS I AbanOON EVERY THING HERE 
I CAN SCAJteELY GET' AN HOUR'S LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM THE BOARD. MUG 
-H LESS A OAT OR A WEEK. OENSMORC HAS ,fU8T 1ELE0RAPHE0 ME TO C 

-OME IN AtL HASTE TO NEW YORK, BUT I CANNOT 00 UNLESS IT PROVES 
TO BE FOR SONC THING IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO WARRANT ME IN OUTTINO LOO 
-8C FROM ALL MT PRESENT BUSINESS PURSUITS, 

I AM ANXIOUS TO HEAR FROM YOU FURTHE^t OENSMORE. I 

THINK, IS NEGOTIATING WITH SWEET IN NEW YiWK, WHO WANTS THE MACHi 
NE IN C0N»«ECTION WITH HIS TELEGRAPH INTERESTS. WITH WHAT PROSREC 
TS OF SUCCESS HE IS NEGOTIATING I 00 NOT KNOW, NOR 00 I KNOW WHET 
-MCR IT IS IN THAT CONNECTION HE WANTS ME. 

>. HAVE MADE ANOTHER MOTT IMPORTANT cAANOE IN THE MACHINE-- — 
HAVING OlSKNaEO WITH THE SLOTTED 0I9C ALTOGETHER. MY 0I9C NOW 
CONSISTS SIMPLY OF A FLAT RING ABOUT AN liCH BROAD AND A QUARTER 
OF AN INCH T^ICK AROUND WHICH THE HAMMERS ARE HUNG EACH ONE ON AN 
INOEPENDENT JOURNAL OF ITS OWN. THE TOP OF THE DISC IS OF COUPS 
-E ALL OPEN IN THIS PLAN, AND EASILY ACCESSIBLE WITH A BAUSH TQ 
CLEAN THE TYPES OR THE HAND TO ARRANGE ANY THING WHICH MAY BE OU 
T OF ORDER. ANO THE HAMMERS CAN NEVER STICK AS THEY NEVER TOUCH 
ANY THING BUT THE LITTLE STEEL JOURNALS ON WHICH THEY SWING. THE 
EASE And freedom. ANO BEAUTY WITH WHICH THIS MACHINE WQRKS IS TRU 
LY WONDERFUL. I OO NOT REFER TO THE BEAUTY OF ITS PRINT BUT THE 
BEAUTY OF ITS WORKINO. THE TYPE ARE TOO LARGE. IT WAS A SETT I 
HAD ON HAND, AND AND AS I WAS TRYING AN EXPERIMENT THE RESULT OF 
WHICH I THOUGHT VERY DOUBTFUL I DID NOT WISH TO GET ANOTHER SETT. 
I AM MYSELF SURPRISED AT THE RESULT OF THE EXPERIMENT. I NAD VE- 
RY F INT HOPE OF ITS SlJ«iCeEDIN6, BUT THOUGHT IT POSSIBLE. BY CARE 
FUL DUUSTINB OF EVERY HAMMER THAT IT MIGHT WORK. YOU CAN THERE- 
FORE GUESS BOTH MY SURPRISE AND PLfASURF WHEN I FOUND THAT IT NEE 
DEO NO ADJUSTING AT ALL THAT ON THE CONTRARY IT ADJUSTED ITSELF, 

IT IS NOT ONLY A WONDERFUL IMPROVEMENT IN THE WORKINO Or THf 



44 THE EARLY HISTORY 



MACHlNCt BUT ITAN80 WONOCRFULO CHEA^CNO ANO »4Mm.lflCS THE WANU 
fACTUfte. THE OltK CAN H0« BE CAST ANO NEEDS NOTHlNO ON THE LATHE 
BUT TO HAVE THE FACE (MOOTHEO UP. THE HAMMERS CAN ALSO 8E CAST 
OF TtK METAL A INASMUCH AS THEY TSUOM NOTHING WHATEVER IN ThEIR 
WORKING ANO T»C9EF0RE THERE 18 NOTHING TO WEAR THEM OUT. m PLAN 
18 TO CAST THE HAMMERS ANO AT THE BAME TIME CAST THE TYPE IN THEM 
HAVING OF COURSE PREVIOUSLY PREPARED THE TYPE OF BRASS OR STEEL 
ANO PLACED IT IN THE MOULD. IN THIS WAY THE TYPE AND HAMMER WIL 
-L COME OUT OF THE MOULD READY TQ 00 INTO THE MACHINE WITHOUT fUR 
THER PREfV^RATION. i THINK IT IS A VERY GREAT THING TQ riAVC 

GOT RIO OF THE SLOTTED DISC. WHICH ALWAYS THREAUEN8 OR MANAQES 1^1 
SOME WAY TO NOLO ON TO THE TYPE, OR SOME ONK OF THEM. IN THIS MA 
-CHINE- THERE IS NOTHING FOR THE TYRE TO STICK IN. IF A TYPE PAU> 
SES AT ALL IT MUST BE IN THE OPEN AIR, FOT THERE IS NOTHING ELSE 
TO STOP IT. I EARNSSTLV HOPE WE SHALL SOON GfiT TO MANUFACTURIN 

-G WITH A ALL OF THESE IMPROVEMENTS. IN WHICH CASE wE SHALL KEEP 
YPOU SUPPLIED WITH THE BEST, BUT I CANNOT THINK THAT ANY FURTH- 
ER CHANflSS ARE P08SIBU TO ADVANTAGE. THE DISC WAS THE ONLY- THI- 
NG LEFT WHICH I HAD NOT REVOLUTION! CD. THAT IB NOW SONS. WHICH 
MAKES THE MACHINE COMPLETELY A NEW ONE COM P ARED WITH ITS ORIGINAL 
CSNCEOTiON AND CONSTRUCTION. ALL OF ITS PARTS HAVE BEEN THE 8U8- 
UECT OF MOST THOROUGH EXPERIMENT, AND I 00 NOT BELIEVE ANY OF THE 
M CAN BE CHANGED TO ADVANTAGE. EVERY THING NOW. SEEMS TO ME AS 
PERFECT AS IT CAN BE MAOEf ANO I FEEL NO INSPIRATION Tp ALTjlR ANY 
THING FURTHER. 

BUT LET ME HEAR FROM YOU. II M R 8 . A C , » 

S H L K S . 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 45 

too large. It is a set I had on hand, and 
as I was trying an experiment the result 
of which I thought was doubtful, I did not 
wish to get another set. I am myself sur- 
prised at the result of the experiment. I 
had very faint hopes of its succeeding, but 
I thought it possible by careful adjusting 
of every hammer that it might work. You 
can therefore guess of my surprise and 
pleasure when I found out that it needed 
no adjusting at all; on the contrary, it ad- 
justed itself ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ I think it a very 
great thing to get rid of the slotted disk, 
which always threatens or manages in some 
way to hold on to the type or some one of 
them. In this machine there is nothing for 
the type to stick in. If a type pauses at all 
it must be in the open air, as there is nothing 
to stop it. I earnestly hope we shall soon 
get to manufacturing with all these im- 
provements * * * * Everything now seems 
to me as perfect as it can be made, and I 
feel no inspiration to alter anything furth- 
er." 

The next letter is dated March 14, 1871, 
nearly six months later, from which it ap- 



46 THE EARLY HISTORY 

pears that our inventor has not lost all of 
his inspiration, as his previous letter would 
indicate, and still further improvements are 
being made. I quote from the letter as 
follows: 

"I have now a machine on which I am 
doing this work, which is an entirely dif- 
ferent thing. It has not the same appear- 
ance. The key board is not the same; the 
disk is not the same; very little similarity 
in any respect. 

"I have been running this about two 
months, and it seems to get better, rather 
than otherwise. In all that time it has not 
developed a single difficulty. In fact all 
such thing as trouble or bother has ceased 
to enter into the calculation. Densmore is 
very sanguine of very valuable results 
from the thing. Since this machine has 
been running I am getting more hope in 
the premises; but I must close on account 
of press of other duties." 

Of the association between Mr. Sholes 
and Mr. Densmore who came upon the 
scene for the first time in 1870, two years 
after the manufacture of the first machine 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 47 

I can say little or nothing, except that I 
remember about that time Mr. Densmore 
came to St. Louis to see me and satisfy him- 
self in regard to the practical work that had 
been done on the machine and obtain a 
testimonial from me in regard to its work. 
I afterwards learned that he obtained from 
Mr. Sholes a right to manufacture a ma- 
chine under his patent for a stipulated sum. 
and sometime afterwards I saw a card with 
a cut of a machine that was manufactured 
under the name of Densmore & Porter and 
was being used in a commercial school in 
Chicago, of which Mr. Porter was the 
principal. The machine contained the same 
features as the Sholes machines, except 
that it dispensed with the long wires run- 
ning from the keys to the bottom of the 
table attached to the trivets and thence to 
the type bars as previously described. I 
understand that this machine was known 
as the "cantilever" machine, and was oper- 
ated by means of short stiff wires running 
laterally with and soldered to the ends of 
the keys and connected with the type bars 
in such manner as to throw them up against 



48 THE EARLY HISTORY 

the paper as each key was struck. I am un- 
able to describe the machine in detail, 
never having seen it. The principal effect 
of the change was to reduce the leverage 
between the keys and the type bars several 
inches and confine the movement to a space 
of not more than two or three inches in 
depth, which would seem to be an improve- 
ment, but the machine did not prove a suc- 
cess for the reason, as I understand, that 
it was found that the wires were unable to 
sustain the lateral strain, and would natur- 
ally become bent out of shape, and for that 
reason its manufacture was abandoned. In 
the meantime, however, Mr. Sholes con- 
tinued to manufacture his machines, and 
the process of evolution was going on, 
looking also towards reducing the size of 
the machine and getting all its parts into 
the shortest possible compass, which was 
the result of the machine sent to me in the 
fall of 1870, which I have already described. 
I will close the reading of this correspond- 
dence by reading the last letter in my pos- 
session which was written in the spring of 
1873, at the time that Mr. Sholes found 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 49 

himself compelled by lack of financial 
means to abandon the control of the man- 
ufacture of the machine and place it in 
other hands. 

Reading between the lines in this letter 
we detect a vein of sadness, very much akin 
to the feelings of a mother who is com- 
pelled to abandon her child by placing it in 
the hands of others who are better able to 
nourish it and care for its future growth. 

Under date of April 30, 1873, Mr. Sholes 
writes as follows: (See page 50.) 

"I presume not having heard of or from' 
the machine for so long a time you have 
about concluded that that machine does not 
live, whatever may be the case with others. 
But if I am right in that conjecture, you 
would be entirely mistaken. It not only 
lives, but apparently at present is in a most 
vigorous condition. The kind of work it 
will do you observe in this specimen, but 
the amount of labor we have been com- 
pelled to perform and the amount of mon- 
ey to expend to get it into its present con- 
dition of efficiency has been fearful to con- 
template, and, I might add, the number of 



50 THE EARLY HISTORY 

MlLWAUHCe, WIS. APRIL 30. 10 73. 

fPlCNO Cha«i.ie: 

IN CONVCRSAr.lON TO-NIOHT. WITH 
ALFRED, I LEARNED T^AT YOU STILL LIVED. AND HE:=«fc 
GAVE ME ONE OF YOUR CARDS. BY WHICH I HOT DULY 
LEARNED THAT YOU STILL LIVED, BUT THAT YOU LI- 
VED AT ST. LOUIS. IN YOUR RE8ULAR BUSINESS OF PHO 
-TO — 'NO, PHONOGRAPH INO. I PRESUME, NOT HAVING 
HEARD OF NOR FROM JHE MACH INB FOR SO LONG A TIME 
YOU HAVE ABOUT CONCLUDED THAT THAT DOES NOT LIVE 
WHATEVER MAY BE THE CASE WITH OTHERS. BUT IF I 
AM RIBHT IN THAT CONJECTURE, YCO WOULD BE ENTIRE- 
LY MISTAKEN. IT NOT ONLY LIVES. BUT APPARENTLY 
AT PRESENT, IN A MOST VIGOROUS COND.ITION. THE 
NINO OF WORK IT WILL DO, YOU OBSERVE IN THIS SPE- 
CIMEN, BUT THE AMOUNT OF LABOR WE HAVE BEEN COM- 
PELLED TO PERFORM AND THE AMOUNT OF MONEY TO EX-. 
PENS, TO GET IT INTO ITS PRESENT CONDITION OF- EF- 
FICIENCY. HAS BEEN FEAROUL TO CONTCMPLASE. AND 
I MIGHT ADO, THE NUMBER OF MORTIFYING FAILURES 
WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED, WHEN WE THOUGHT WE HAD THE 
tHiNO CNTIRElY COMPLETED IN GOOD SHAPE, HAVE BEE 
-N ENTIRELO TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION. 

BUT WE FEEL THAT. WE HAVE GOT OUT OF T»fE 
VrOODS AT LAST. THE MACHINE IS NO SUCH THING AS 
IT WAS, WHEN YOU LAST SAW IT. IN FACT YOU WOULD 
NOT RECOGNIZE IT AS THE SAME THING AT ALL. I SC- 
ARCELY KNOW HOW TO DESCRIBE IT; AND I PRESUME IT 
IS NOT NECESSARY « SHOULD, MAKE THE ATTEMPT. IT 
19 NOW. WHAT WE CALL THE "CONTINUOUS ROLL* • 

MACHINE, 80 CALLED. BECAUSE IT WAS MADE ORIOINAL- 
t.V TO ACCOMMODATE THE AUTOMATIC TELEGRAPH CO*frANY 
PY pniNriHO FROM A CONTINUOUS ROLL OF PAPER; 
^uAt l«^. ^APER OF ANY LENGTH. THIS ALTERES THE 
V .0| T CHAttACrtR OF THE MACHINE, AND WE FOUND AF- 
-r^ IT ^'i'^ ALTLRED THAT THA STYLE ACCOMMODATED AL 

• v^^^1«^ PF. TTER THAN THE OLO 8TYUE, ANO SO WE 
^,.t K^ ^(Cnr OF THE HINO THAT WK MADE WHtU YOO 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 51 



WERC INTCRCSTED IN IT. IT IS SMALLER, HANDIER. 
NEATER, MORE CONVENIENT, WILL 00 ALMOST EVERY POS 
BIBLE KINO or WORK. THAN rT WAS OR WOULD 00 IN 

ITS OLO'rORM. 

A CONTRACT HAS BEEN MADE WITH THE IL- 

IQN ARMS MANUFACTORY OP THE REMINGTON'S AT ILION. 
NEW YORK, FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF A THOUSAND MA- 
CHINES. WHICH ARE NOW IN PROCESS AND PROGRESS 'OF 
CONSTRUCTION. WE ARE MUCH ENCOURAGED WITH TH€ 
PR05PCCT OF THE VALUE OF THE THING IN VIEW OF ITS 
UTILITY. 

I HAVE NOTHINe PARTICULAR TO SAY. AND 
YOU WILL OBSERVE I HAVE SAID IT. 1 TRUST T+1IS 

iWAv ^rnro yoo wclw. yours. 

C. L. S H L E S. 



mortifying failures we have encountered 
when we thought we had the thing entirely 
completed have been entirely too numerous 
to mention. 

But we feel that we have got out of the 
woods at last. The machine is no such 
thing as it was when you last saw it. In 
fact you would not recognize it as the same 
thing at all. I scarcely know how to de- 
scribe it, and I presume it is not necessary 
that I should make the attempt. It is now 
what we call the continuous roll machine. 



52 THE EARLY HISTORY 

so-called because it was originally made to 
acconiniodate the Automatic Telegraph 
Company, by printing from a continuous 
roll of paper; that is, paper of any length. 
This alters the whole character of the ma- 
chijic, and we found after it was altered 
that the style accommodated all wants bet- 
ter than the old style, and so we made no 
more of the kind that we made when you 
were interested in it. It is smaller, handier, 
neater, more convenient, will do almost 
every possible kind of work than it was or 
would be in its old form. 

A contract has been made with the Ilion 
Arms Manufactory, or the Remingtons, at 
Ilion, N. Y., for the manufacture of a thous- 
and machines, which are now in process 
or pr»)j.j:rcss of construction. 

"1 have nothing particular to say, and 
you will observe that I have said it." 

This last letter, as you will observe by an 
inspection of the original, is a fair specimen 
of the work that was done on the machine 
for some time after it passed into the hands 
of the Remington company, the work being 
in capital letters the same as the other ma- 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 53 

chines up to that time. The most import- 
ant improvement by which the lower and 
upper case letters were produced by means 
of the present shifting apparatus was not 
conceived until some time later. 



54 THE EARLY HISTORY 



Notwithstanding the vast improvements 
that have been made in the mechanical 
movement and superior workmanship, and 
the many little ingeni- 
Oiiginal Features ous devices which have 
In Present been added, and char- 

Machines acterize the typewriter 

of the present day, still 
we find that the main features which con- 
stituted the invention are the same now as 
those contained in the first typewriter, 
which consists of the circular disk or metal 
ring around which are hung the type bars, 
each striking at a common center, the rib- 
bon movement and movement of the pa- 
per carriage connected with the keys by the 
universal bar, the spring motor which was 
substituted by Mr. Sholes in place of the 
::wkward clock work movement with the 
weight, which was a troublesome feature of 
the first machine, and although the change 
in this feature is not referred to in the let- 
ters which have been preserved, it was done 
away with in the machine that was sent to 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 55 

me during the fall of 1870. This change, 
however, was purely mechanical, and was 
naturally suggested by the evolution of the 
clock from the weight to the spring motor. 
All of these features were the result of much 
study and experiment on the part of Mr. 
Sholes and his associates during the five 
years that intervened before turning over the 
manufacture of the machine to the factory at 
Ilion. The real invention, however, con- 
sists in the circular metal ring or disk, with 
the type bars striking at a common center 
which is found today in all type bar ma- 
chines. I may add also, that since the man- 
ufacture of the machine passed out of Mr. 
Sholes* personal supervision he still con- 
tinued to work on improvements up to the 
day of his death in 1890, giving the bene- 
fit of his work to the company to whom he 
had turned over the manufacture in 1873. 



56 THE EARLY HISTORY 



The discouraging feature connected with 
the manufacture of the first machines, and 
which it seemed impossible to overcome, 
was the crude workman- 
Discouraging ship which tended to im- 
Features pede the action of the ma- 

chine, which required 
smooth and certain movement of its most 
delicate parts. The workmen in the little 
machine shop did the best they could with 
the imperfect appliances at hand; but it 
was like trying to make a watch in a black- 
smith shop, and it was only after repeated 
and heroic efforts to overcome these ob- 
stacles that Mr. Sholes was compelled to 
relinquish personal control of its manufac- 
ture and place it with the Remington com- 
pany at Ilion, N. Y., as stated in his last 
letter. Previous to this he had expended 
with the aid of his financial backers large 
sums of money in an endeavor to perfect 
his invention to the extent of producing a 
thoroughly reliable working machine that 
would find favor with the public, in which 



JF THE TYPEWRITER 57 

effort I am told that he expended all of his 
private funds, even to the sacrifice of his 
little home in order to raise the necessary 
means for the attainment of that end. Fail- 
ing in that endeavor he made a contract 
with the Remington Arms Company, where 
skilled workmen were employed with all 
the appliances at hand for working in steel 
in the manufacture of their fire arms. 

It was these defects that compelled us to 
abandon the use of the first machine in our 
regular work. The second machine that 
was sent to me in the fall of 1870 although 
a great improvement on the first one and 
very well adapted to correspondence and 
ordinary light work was still subject to 
impediments and stoppages necessitating 
more or less delay in repairing and remedy- 
ing the difficulties, and as time was an im- 
portant element with us we were compelled 
to return to the old method of preparing 
our transcripts. 

This is all that can be said, so far as the 
writer's personal recollections are con- 
cerned, as to the early history of the type- 
writer. A most interesting volume could 



58 THE EARLY HISTORY 

have been written by those who at the time 
had full knowledge of all the details con- 
nected with the many experiments that 
were tried and abandoned from time to 
time, and the numerous disappointments 
that resulted from the efforts that were 
made to surmount the obstacles that arose 
here and there, standing in the way of the 
manufacture of an absolutely reliable ma- 
chine that could be passed into the hands of 
the ordinary operator and used for months 
without a hitch or break of some kind, oc- 
casioning vexatious delays, which naturally 
militated against the use of the machine, 
and 1 may say here that it was nearly ten 
years after the work was undertaken in an 
establishment where the most skilful me- 
chanics were employed with all the neces- 
sary appliances for accomplishing the finest 
work in steel, that a machine was manufac- 
tured that was entirely devoid of the de- 
fects, which stood in the way of its general 
use. 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 59 



In this connection it is proper that some- 
thing should be said of the life and char- 
acter of the man whose inventive genius 
has lightened the labors of 
Personal shorthand reporters and ma- 
Notes terially lengthened their lives. 
Speaking for myself, I have no 
doubt but that without the valuable aid of 
the typewriter I would have been laid on 
the shelf, so to speak, years ago, a sufferer 
from writer's cramp or some other affliction 
superinduced by overwork, and I have no 
doubt that many others of our profession 
can bear testimony to the same effect. 

With those who were so fortunate as to 
know Mr. Sholes during his life, the ac- 
quaintance was one which carried with it 
the most pleasing recollections. Old resi- 
dents of Milwaukee will remember his ap- 
pearance on the street, his tall slender fig- 
ure, his long flowing hair and his remark- 
ably clear bright eyes, with that far-away 
look in them peculiar to men of his genius. 

His genial nature is reflected to some ex- 



60 THE EARLY HISTORY 

tent in the few extracts that have been read 
from his letters. He was a devotee of the 
royal game of chess, and never so happy as 
when seated at the board opposite an op- 
ponent worthy of his steel. A quiet vein 
of humor ran through his ordinary conver- 
sation, and he would frequently quote pas- 
sages from the poets, paraphrasing them in 
a grotesque style which was calculated to 
cause those worthies to rise up in righteous 
indignation at the unwonted liberty that 
had been taken with their lines, but 
nevertheless intensely amusing. He was 
also an inveterate punster. The pun crept 
into his ordinary conversation in the most 
natural way and he was never guilty of 
carefully paving the way for a choicely pre- 
served specimen of that character which is 
a most exasperating feature of some of 
our would-be wits. 

As an illustration of his happy facility in 
that line, a friend at one time accompanied 
him to his modest home, which was lighted 
with kerosene lamps, which was the bane 
of all good housekeepers in those days, and 
upon entering the front door he beheld a 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 61 

large grease spot on the hall carpet caused 
by the dripping from a hanging lamp. 
Raising his eyes to the ceiling he broke out 
with Byron's well known apostrophe, 
**Ye isles of Greece, ye isles of Greece, 
Where burning Sappho loved and sang." 
In the midst of a game of chess, seeing a 
check-mate loom up in the distance he 
would hurl defiance with Goldsmith's coup- 
let, embellished in rustic style, 

"E'en though that cloud were thunder's 

wust, 
And charged to squash him, let it bust." 
A man of most gentle and modest de- 
meanor, he was not lacking in moral cour- 
age when occasion required it. At one 
time during the civil war we were lunching 
at a restaurant at the capital of Wisconsin. 
The restaurant was fitted up with small 
booths in which patrons could enjoy their 
meals in semi-privacy. As we were waiting 
for our order two officers of the union army 
passed us and sat down in the adjoining 
compartment, when one remarked to the 
other "That's the fellow who wrote us up 
in his paper and said we ran like white cats 



62 THE EARLY HISTORY 

at Wilson's Creek." The remark was made 
in a low tone, and might have been passed 
by with one less sensitive of personal criti- 
cism, but Mr. Sholes' quick ear caught it, 
and rising at once he appeared at the en- 
trance of the booth with the question "Are 
you alluding to me, sir?" The officer was 
naturally taken aback with the sudden ap- 
pearance of the tall form, and the question 
propounded in the most quiet even tone, 
and somewhat defiantly replied, "Well, 
you are the editor of that paper, and I sup- 
pose you are responsible for its state- 
ments." Mr. Sholes replied, "You are very 
much mistaken sir. I had nothing to do 
with the publication of thz.t statement, and 
if I had seen it in time it never would have 
been published. I have too much regard 
for the boys who are fighting our battles 
while we are enjoying the comforts of our 
homes to allow them to be slandered in the 
public press." The explanation was made 
in such a manly wa}'^ and with such evident 
sincerity that it called forth a most profuse 
apology, and after a few pleasant remarks 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 63 

in which Mr. Sholes expressed his regret 
that his age prevented him from serving in 
the field in defense of his country, the two 
separated the best of friends. 

I have noted with some anoyance state- 
ments which have been made lately in art- 
icles written in connection with the inven- 
tion of the typewriter to the effect that 
'*C. L. Sholes who assisted in perfecting the 
typewriter was a mechanic by trade." A 
short time ago a friend sent me a clipping 
from a southern paper in which an old 
gentleman in his 94th year was claiming the 
distinction of being the original inventor of 
the typewriter, having given his design to 
*'a mechanic named Shoals who developed 
the first Remington machine." Another 
mention has been made still more recently 
which spoke of "a crude model of a ma- 
chine invented by Sholes and Glidden, two 
mechanics of Milwaukee," a term which 
cannot be strictly applied to either of those 
gentlemen, and while undoubtedly Mr. 
Sholes with his democratic ideas would 
have felt honored in being placed in that 
catagory if such was the fact, I take the 



64 THE EARLY HISTORY 

liberty of copying the following brief sketch 
which appears in "The National Cyclopedia 
of American Biography" published some 
10 or 12 years ago: 

"Christopher Latham Sholes, inventor, 
was born in Columbia county, Penn., Feb- 
ruary 14, 1819. His ancestors were New 
Englanders and served with distinction in 
the Revolutionary army. His grandfather 
on the maternal side was a lineal descend- 
ant of John Alden. 

"At the age of fourteen young Sholes was 
apprenticed to the editor of the Intelligen- 
cer, Danville, Pa., to learn the printing 
trade, but at the age of 18 determined to 
join his brother, then living in Green Bay, 
Wis. A year later, when but 19 years of 
age he took charge of the House Journal of 
the Territorial Legislature and carried it 
to Philadelphia, a long journey at that time, 
to be printed. At the age of 20 he went to 
Madison, and took charge of the Wisconsin 
Inquirer, owned by his brother Charles, and 
in 1840 at the age of 21, edited the South- 
port, afterwards Kenosha Telegraph, and 
four years later became the postmaster, re- 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 65 

ceiving his appointment from President 
Polk. Later, during his residence in Mil- 
waukee he was postmaster of that city, and 
still later was appointed to the position of 
Commissioner of Public Works, and Col- 
lector of Customs. He was for a long time 
editor of the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel 
and the News. 

"It was while he was Collector of Cus- 
toms in 1866 that he became interested with 
an old friend named Soule in the making 
of a machine for consecutive numbering, 
especially on bank notes and pages of blank 
books, at which time his attention was di- 
rected to an article published in an English 
journal regarding writing by a mechanical 
device, by John Pratt. 

"With a quick intuition he saw the possi- 
bilities of a revolution of the handling of 
the pen. From that moment he devoted 
his whole time and thought to the idea 
which has given to the world the type- 
writer. 

"This wonderful creation is the result of 
his inventive genius. In 1867 the first crude 
instrument was made, and in 1873 the in- 



66 THE EARLY HISTORY 

vention was so far perfected as to warrant 
the production of machines on a large 
scale. The world has felt the benefit. For 
a long time the financial returns were small 
and Mr. Sholes who was to receive a royal- 
ty on each machine, disposed of his right 
for a comparatively small sum. Later he 
invented several improvements, which, 
with an excess of conscience characteristic 
of the man, he gave to the persons in con- 
trol of the manufacture. 

"In addition to his inventive powers, Mr. 
Sholes did much as an editor and politician. 
He witnessed the evolution of the state of 
Wisconsin from its wild beginnings, and 
contributed no small share in shaping the 
laws that were necessary to set the new 
state government in successful motion. He 
served in the state Senate in 1848-9 from 
Racine County, and in 1852-3 represented 
Kenosha County, in the legislature. In 
1856-7 he was state senator, being presi- 
dent pro tem for more than a year. 

"He was a man of such generous sympa- 
thies that he naturally took to the side of 
the minority. His innate abhorance of 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 67 

wrong and cruelty made him an abolition- 
ist, and he was one of the most active 
founders of the Republican party in the 
State. He disliked the details of business, 
and the painstaking necessary to make 
money was his particular aversion. He 
was a man of excessive tenderness of con- 
science, viewed from the usual business 
point of view. It was because of this that 
he did not reap the pecuniary reward of his 
invention of the first typewriting machine. 
He lived to see the work of his genius ac- 
cepted throughout the world, and hear the 
pleasing compliment rendered him, that he 
was "the father of the typewriter." 



68 THE EARLY HISTORY 



There is one notable circumstance con- 
nected with Mr. Sholes' public life which 
is not referred to in this brief biography, 
but which deserves 
An Incorruptible mention in this con- 
Legislator nection, as illustrat- 
ing his sterling hon- 
esty and integrity, and his high ideal 
of the duty of a representative to- 
wards his constituents while acting in that 
capacity. I refer to it with some hesitancy, 
for the reason that it seriously involves the 
character and reputation of certain men 
who had hitherto stood very high in the 
State of Wisconsin, and while my memory 
may be at fault as to the minor details of 
the transaction, the main facts are matters 
of history, which cannot be successfully 
controverted. 

Away back in the early 50's, when the 
railroads were pushing their way into the 
new State, a scheme was concocted in con- 
nection with the building of a railroad from 
Milwaukee to LaCrosse, which was to give 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 69 

the promoters certain valuable lands along 
the right of way through the State of Wis- 
consin. In order to carry out this scheme 
it was necessary to obtain authority from 
the State Legislature, and a bill was framed 
embodying the necessary legislation, which 
was introduced during the session, and was 
afterwards known as the LaCrosse Land 
Grant. The measure was what is common- 
ly termed a "steal", and the promoters well 
knew that it could not be carried through 
in the ordinary way. In order to facilitate 
its passage a series of bonds were issued 
secured by this land, which was exceeding- 
ly valuable. The bonds were in denomin- 
ations of five thousand dollars each, and 
were intended for distribution among the 
members of the legislature with the pur- 
pose of influencing their votes in favor of 
the bill. These bonds were quietly passed 
around among the members by an agent 
of the syndicate, and accepted, with the 
usual result, and the bill was passed and 
signed by the governor, and thus became 
a law. It was one of the worst cases of 
wholesale bribery ever known in the his- 



70 THE EARLY HISTORY 

tory of legislation, involving, as it did, not 
only the members of the Legislature, but 
the governor himself, who received a large 
share of the bonds. 

The facts in connection with this dis- 
graceful proceeding came to light some two 
or three years afterwards in a legislative 
investigation, and revealed the fact that 
but one man in the entire assembly refused 
the bribe, and his name stands out in the 
history of the State of Wisconsin as a 
bright particular star, where all else is dark. 

The name of that man is C. Latham 
Sholes. He indignantly spurned the bribe, 
while others accepted it, and with it in 
some cases laid the foundation of what in 
those days would be termed a fortune. 

Mr. Sholes returned to his contituents as 
poor in purse as when he left them, biit he 
preserved his purity and integrity, and sa- 
credly kept inviolate the oath which he had 
taken when he entered the halls of legis- 
lation as a servant of the public. 

Throughout his pure, blameless life he 
cared nothing for money, except as a means 
of providing for the simple wants of his 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 71 

family and himself. He once remarked to a 
friend in his facetious way that he had been 
trying all his life to escape from being a 
millionaire, and thought he had succeeded 
admirably in that regard. 

The life of Christopher Latham Sholes, 
regarded from the coarse and sordid stand- 
point of the business world would not be 
pronounced a success, but viewed from the 
higher and nobler standard by which all 
human lives are measured in the eternal 
years of God, his life was a grand and 
glorious success, far exceeding all the ma- 
terial wealth which has been produced in 
this age of multimillionaires, in that he de- 
voted his God-given genius, not for selfish 
gain, not for his own enrichment at the ex- 
pense of others, but for the benefit of man- 
kind, and for the welfare and happiness of 
future generations. 



APPENDIX 



Extract from the Proceedings of the 
18th Annual Convention of the 
National Shorthand Reporters' 
Association. 



Photograph of Burial Lot of the In- 
ventor of the Typewriter. 



Photographs of Models of the First 
Typewriter on which the Patent 
was granted July 14th, 1868. 



Resolutions Adopted at the 19th An- 
nual Convention at Cleveland, 
Creating the Sholes Monument 
Commission. 



APPENDIX 

Extract from the Annual Proceedings of 
the National Shorthand Reporters' Associ- 
ation at Philadelphia, Pa., Aug. 16, 1916. 

Secretary Weller: 

I have a matter here which I think will 
interest our members and I promise to be 
very brief, and not encroach upon the regu- 
lar order this afternoon. 

During our 10th annual convention which 
was held in Milwaukee in 1908 a number of 
our members took occasion to visit a little 
machine shop in the northern part of the 
city in which was constructed the first 
typewriter during the summer and fall of 
1867. .1 

They failed, however, to visit another 
spot, no less interesting and replete with 
sacred memories of the man whose inven- 
tive genius must always link his name in 
the enduring chain of great inventors of 
the nineteenth century. 

In Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee, 
surrounded by the many magnificent and 
imposing monuments which distinguish 

75 



76 



THE EARLY HISTORY 





OF THE TYPEWRITER 11 

that beautiful city of the dead, is a name- 
less grave, with nothing to note the spot, 
save the simple corner lot markers which 
are found on every burial lot,placed there by 
the cemetery authorities to mark the bound- 
dary line that separates it from other lots. 

Probably no person, except the few de- 
scendents of the family would think of tak- 
ing the trouble to search out this modest 
grave; and yet beneath the sunken mound 
are the bones of one whose inventive gen- 
ius gave to the world that wonderful mech- 
anism known as the typewriter. 

It was his brain that conceived the main 
features of an invention which has light- 
ened the labor and added to the comfort 
and happiness of countless thousands of 
young men and women who are today earn- 
ing an independent livelihood in fields of 
usefulness created by this invention — fields 
of labor far exceeding tlie most sanguine 
expectation of the patient inventor who 
was struggling to produce a mechanism 
which has today found its way into every 
part of the civilized globe. 

Crude and cumbrous as was the first at- 
tempt at reducing to a practical working 
model the product of his brain, neverthe- 
less the main principle of the invention was 
there, and it did its work, despite the many 
handicaps that developed during its con 



78 THE EARLY HISTORY 

struction in the little workshop that gave it 
birth. 

The inventor not only conceived the 
main principles of the invention, but at the 
same time christened it, by giving it a name, 
which sounded oddly enough at the time, 
but has since become a household word 
throughout the world, — '*The Typewriter." 

He perfected his invention so far as pos- 
sible with the rude machinery in the hands 
of workmen unskilled in the manufacture 
of its most delicate parts, and patiently la- 
bored in an effort to construct a machine 
that would accomplish the work and meet 
with favor with the public, aided in the 
first place by the pecuniary assistance of a 
friend whose interest was enlisted to the 
extent of furnishing the necessary funds for 
the first trial of the invention, and after- 
wards practically sacrificing his own mod- 
est home in order to procure further funds 
for carrying on the work, until he was com- 
pelled to turn it over to a factory in the 
east, whose fine work in steel finally 
brought it to a marketable stage, after 
which he still continued the work of per- 
fecting some of its most intricate parts, 
propped up in his bed during the last stages 
of a lingering illness, never ceasing his 
work, up to the time of his death. 

Such, in brief, is the story of the man and 
his work. 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 79 

He died a poor man, so far as the world's 
wealth is concerned. He left a heritage 
that has been the making of millionaires 
and has blessed the lives of hundreds of 
thousands of toilers in the world's work. 

It has been to me a matter of great regret 
that I was unable to preserve the first 
typewriter which was sent out of the shop 
and shipped to St. Louis in the winter of 
1867-8, but which was soon afterwards re- 
called by the inventor to be replaced by an- 
other machine with various mechai.'cal im- 
provements, and it was not until two years 
ago that I learned that the original model 
upon which the patent was granted in July 
1868, was still in existence, and in passinq: 
through Washington on my way to our At- 
lantic City convention in 1914, I arranged 
to have the model removed from the ware- 
house and unpacked for inspection, and 
having secured the services of a Washing- 
ton photographer we succeeded in procur- 
ing two excellent views of the machine, 
which are here offered for your inspection. 

Cut number one is a side view showing 
the keyboard with connecting wires run- 
ning down, and fastened to trivets, with 
wires connected at the other end of the tri- 
vets, and from thence running up to the 
machine and connected with the type bars. 
It also shows the clock work mechanism 
with weight attached, which was after 
wards replaced by the spring motor. 



80 THE EARLY HISTORY 




Cut No. 1. 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 



81 




"Hfimmmm 



This is a top view, showing the brass 
disk, slotted and connected with the type 
bars, also the platen, consisting of a metal 
bar rigidly fastened to the frame of the ma- 
chine, and extending to the center of the 
aperture in the disk with sufficient surface 
for each letter to strike at a common center; 
also showing the flat paper frame moving 



82 THE EARLY HISTORY 



beneath the ribbon and platen, the paper 
being clamped at each corner of the 
frame. The ribbon movement apparatus 
having been lost or mislaid is not shown on 
the model. It consisted of spools fastened 
on each side of the frame, attached to the 
carriage movement in such manner as to 
move and present a fresh surface with each 
stroke of the key, and automatically revers- 
ing when the end of the ribbon was reached. 
Shortly after returning from the Atlantic 
City convention I wrote to the director of 
the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, 
suggesting that they obtain possession of 
the model which was then lying exposed in 
the basement of the Patent Office building, 
and liable to injury, and received in reply 
a note from the director with thanks for 
the information, and promising to take the 
matter up with the Interior Department, 
with the view to securing the model, and I 
trust that it is now safely reposing with 
other valuable relics in the Institute. 

Now, recurring to that nameless grave, 
we old men are in the habit sometimes of 
dreaming dreams and seeing visions, and I 
think I see a vision in the not far distant 
future when above those sacred remains 
will arise a beautiful monument of marble, 
in which is set a bronze tablet, bearing in 
base relief the strong features of a man of 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 83 

the type of Elias Howe of sewing machine 
fame, with the inscription 

''CHRISTOPHER LATHAM SHOLES. 
The Father of the Typewriter." 

"Erected by the National Shorthand Reporters' 
Association, aided by the free will offerings of thou- 
sands of men and women in grateful memory of the 
man whose genius has lightened labor and brought 
comfort and nappiness to millions of toilers in the 
world's work." 

I am not making a motion, but simply 
oflFering a suggestion which may or may 
not be deemed worthy of consideration by 
the Association. A plan that I am about 
to suggest will not take a dollar out of the 
treasury of the National Association. The 
undertaking would lose all of its charm 
and grace, were it not accomplished by the 
free will offerings of the many thousands 
of young men and girls who are today 
earning their living in the new field of la- 
bor which had its origin in the brain of 
this remarkable man. 

>(C >(C >(C 9|C ]|( 9|C 

It is eminently proper that the short- 
hand profession through its national or- 
ganization should take the lead in this 
work, inasmuch as the first man who made 
a practical test of its efficiency was a short- 
hand court reporter, and when the agents 
started out with the perfected typewriter and 



84 THE EARLY HISTORY 

endeavored to get it into the market their 
first and strongest friends were the short- 
hand reporters, and it was mainly through 
their recommendation and influence that 
they were able to make sales of their ma- 
chines. 

Is there a man or a woman who is now 
or ever has been employed as a court re- 
porter or commercial stenographer who 
would not be willing to contribute 25, 50 
cents or a dollar to such a fund? Is there 
a member of this Association who would 
not do the same, when the matter is prop- 
erly presented with a brief history of the 
man whose memory we seek to honor? 

I would suggest the appointment of a 
body to be known as "The C. Latham 
Sholes Monument Association," the mem- 
bers to be selected by the President of the 
Association, with authority to appoint 
agents to solicit contributions to a fund, 
to be kept separate and apart from the 
funds of this Association, to be devoted 
to the purpose for which it is created. 

9|C 9|C 3|( 9|C 9|C 9|C 

There is no commercialism in this prop- 
osition. The typewriter of 1867 stands in 
a class by itself. It is unique, in that it 
had no competitor, with no dream of co- 
lossal wealth in the mind of the inventor, 
whose sole aim and effort was the construc- 
tion of a machine that would lighten the 




OF THE TYPEWRITER 85 

labor of the toiler and inure to the benefit 
and happiness of mankind. 

On motion of Mr. Farnell, duly seconded 
the matter was referred to the Executive 
Committee. 



At the Nineteenth annual convention 
which met in Cleveland on August 13, 1917, 
the following proceedings were had: 

Mr. William L. James, of Chicago: 

Mr. President, I have a very important 
resolution in my pocket. I was just dis- 
cussing it Y'ith Mr. Taylor here for the 
moment, and might I present it now? 

It is just ninety-eight years ago since one 
of the greatest benefactors of shorthand 
in the world was born, a man who should 
take a place almost as elevated as that oc- 
cupied by Isaac Pitman, in our esteem. 

He lies buried in an unmarked grave. 

Every day we live, every day we work 
and every dollar that we earn should re- 
mind us of our debt of gratitude to this 
man. 

I refer to C. Latham Sholes, the inven- 
tor of the typewriter. 

The resolution which I propose to offer 
does not involve the expenditure of any 
of the money of this Association. It in- 



86 THE EARLY HISTORY 

volves the appointment of a committee to 
collect voluntary subscriptions to erect a 
suitable monument at the grave of C. La- 
tham Sholes. 

It will be a hundred years in 1919 since 
he was born. 

He is buried in Milwaukee. There is, so 
far as I know, but one member of our As- 
sociation who knew him. That member 
is well along in years. 

In the proceedings of our 1908 conven- 
tion there appears a rather exhaustive pa- 
per describing the work of Mr. Sholes in 
the invention and perfection of the type- 
writer, a paper that I have read many 
times, because of its great value to short- 
hand writers. 

Here is my resolution: 

Whereas, at our last annual convention 
it was suggested that a suitable monument 
be erected under the auspices of the Na- 
tional Shorthand Reporters' Association, 
over the unmarked grave of Christopher 
Latham Sholes, the inventor of the type- 
writer; and 

Whereas, the members of this Associa- 
tion realize that they in company with 
many hundreds of thousands of people in 
this country and elsewhere owe a debt of 
gratitude to the man whose genius gave 



OF THE TYPEWRITER 87 

birth to the first practical typewriter, which 
has since proved a valuable adjunct in af- 
fording them a means of earning a liveli- 
hood, 

Therefore, Be it resolved, that the incom- 
mg president of this Association be author- 
ized to appoint a Committee of not less 
than three nor more than five, who shall 
be empowered to select such persons as 
in their judgment may be best qualified to 
assist them in devising and putting into 
execution proper methods for soliciting 
small contributions for the purpose of de- 
fraying the cost of such monument, to be 
erected during the year 1919, which is the 
hundredth anniversary of the birth of the 
inventor; it being distinctly understood 
that the appointment of such committee 
carries with it no obligation on the part of 
this Association to assist in such undertak- 
ing financiallv or to contribute to such 
fund by the payment of money out of its 
treasury. 

I move the adoption of the resolution. 
Mr. James' motion being seconded was 
unanimously carried. 



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