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Dead medium: Henry Mills' Typewriter
From: bruces@well.com (Bruce Sterling)
Source(s): *The Progress of Invention in the 19th Century* by Edward W. Byrn Munn and Co., Publishers, Scientific American Office, 361 Broadway, New York 1900

pages 171-172

"Occupying an intermediate place between the old-fashioned scribe and the printer, the typewriter has in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century established a distinct and important avocation, and has become a necessary factor in modern business life. (...)

"Like most other important inventions, the typewriter did not spring into existence all at once, for while the practical embodiment in really useful machines has only taken place since about 1868, there have been many experiments and some success attained at a much earlier date. The British patent to Henry Mills, No. 395 of 1714, is the earliest record of efforts in this direction. At this early date no drawings were attached to patents, and the specification dwells more on the function of the machine than the instrumentalities employed. No record of the construction of this machine remains in existence, and it may be fairly considered a lost art. In quaint and old-fashioned English, the patent specification proceeds as follows:

"'ANNE, by the Grace of God, &c., to all whome these presents shall come, greeting: WHEREAS, our trusty and well-beloved subject, Henry Mills, hath by his humble peticon represented vnto vs, that he has by his greate study, paines, and expence, lately invented, and brought to perfection '*An Artificial Machine* or *Method* for the *Impressing* or *Transcribing Letters Singly* or *Progressively* one after another as in *Writing,* whereby all *Writing whatever* may be *Engrossed* in *Paper* or *Parchment* so *Neat* and *Exact* as not to be Distinguished from *Print,* that the said *Machine* or method, may be of greate vse in *Settlements* and *Publick Recors,* the Impression being deeper and more Lasting than any other *Writing,* and not to be erased, or *Counterfeited* without *Manifest Discovery,* and having therefore humbly prayed vs to grant him our Royall Letters Patents, for the sole vse of his said Invention for the term of fourteen yeares.'"