Add a Comment to this Note (list members only)
Dead medium: Typewriters: the Comptometer, the Numerograph, the book typewriter
From: (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 181-182

"It is not practicable to give a full illustration of the state of the art in typewriters, as it has grown to an industry of large proportions. Nearly 1,700 patents have been granted for such machines, and more than 100 useful and meritorious machines have been devised and put upon the market. Among these may be mentioned the Hall, Underwood, Manhattan, Williams, Jewett, and many others.

"Besides the regular typewriters, various modifications have been made to suit special kinds of work. The 'Comptometer' used in banks is a species of typewriter, as is also the Dudley adding and subtracting machine, known as the 'Numerograph,' and covered by patents Nos. 554,993, 555,038, 555,039, 579,047 and 579, 048. Typewriters for short hand characters, and for foreign languages, and for printing on record and blank books, are also among the modern developments of this art. In the latter the whole carriage and system of type levers move over the book. The Elliott & Hatch book typewriter, Fig. 143, is a well-known example.

(((To judge by the Fig. 143 engraving, the Elliott & Hatch clamped onto blank books via a pair of parallel metal rails, set at the book's spine and page margin. The Elliott & Hatch typed directly onto bound pages.)))


"It was estimated that there were in use in the United States in 1896 150,000 typewriters, and that up to that time 450,000 had been made altogether. In the last four years that number has been greatly increased, and a fair estimate of the present output in the United States is between 75,000 and 100,000 yearly. (...)

"The typewriter saves time, labor, postage and paper; it reduces the liability to mistakes, brings system into official correspondence, and delights the heart of the printer. It furnishes profitable amusement to the young, and satisfactory aid to the nervous and paralytic. All over the world it has already travelled == from the counting house of the merchant to the Imperial Courts of Europe, from the home of the new woman in the Western Hemisphere to the harem of the East == everywhere its familiar click is to be heard, faithfully translating thought into all languages, and for all peoples."