Start Date
Place
Notes
Source
1714
UK
The concept of a typewriter dates back at least to
1714, when Englishman Henry Mill filed a vaguely-
worded patent for "an artificial machine or method
for the impressing or transcribing of letters singly
or progressively one after another."
http://staff.xu.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-
history.html October 2010
1808
Ialy
But the first typewriter proven to have worked
was built by the Italian Pellegrino Turri in 1808 for
his blind friend Countess Carolina Fantoni da
Fivizzono (as established by Michael Adler in his
excellent 1973 book The Writing Machine);
unfortunately, we do not know what the machine
looked like, but we do have specimens of letters
written by the Countess on it.
http://staff.xu.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-
history.html October 2010
1829
US
The first typewriter is patented by William Austin
Burt. It's slow and clumsy but it's the first writing
machine.
http://www.warbaby.com/FG_test/Timeline.ht
ml November 2010
1867
US
Finally, in 1867, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin printer-
publisher-politician named Christopher Latham
Sholes, with assistance from Carlos Glidden and
Samuel Soule, patented what was to be the first
useful typewriter. He licensed his patent to
Remington & Sons of Ilion, New York, a noted
American gun maker.
http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/t
yprwriter.htm November 2010
1868
US
Christopher Sholes invents the typewriter in the
United States utilizing the QWERTY keyboard.
http://www.computerhope.com/history/1800.h
tm November 2010
1870
Denmark
Numerous inventors in Europe and the U.S.
worked on typewriters in the 19th century but
successful commercial production began only
with the writing ball of Danish pastor Malling
Hansen (1870). This well-engineered device
looked rather like a pincushion. Nietzsche's
mother and sister once gave him one for
Christmas. He hated it.
http://staff.xu.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-
history.html October 2010
1872
US
Based on Sholes’ mechanical typewriter, the first
electric typewriter was built by Thomas Alva
Edison in the United States in 1872, but the
widespread use of electric typewriters was not
common until the 1950s.
http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/t
yprwriter.htm November 2010
1873
US
Inspired by a Scientific American article featuring
a British attempt at a typing machine,
Christopher Latham Sholes invents his own. In
1873, he sells an improved prototype to
Remington and Sons, gunsmiths, of Ilion, NY, who
begins mass producing the machines. Among
the first works to be produced on a typewriter is
Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA99/grogan/thes
is/Timeline2.html
1873
US
Much more influential in the long run, was the
Sholes & Glidden Type Writer, which began
production in late 1873 and appeared on the
American market in 1874.
http://staff.xu.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-
history.html October 2010
1881
US
As late as 1881, Remington was selling only 1,
200 machines a year.
http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/history-
of-typewriters November 2010
1883
International
Another drawback presented by early machines
was the inability of the typist to view the paper
until it was removed from the typewriter. In 1883,
the first typewriter with visible printing was
marketed, and Correcto-Type became a
practical though distant reality.
http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/history-
of-typewriters November 2010
1898
UK
George Bernard Shaw was the first playwright to
use a typewriter as a stageprop, in Candida
(1898).
http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/history-
of-typewriters November 2010
1909
International
The first portable typewriter had been
manufactured in 1909.
http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/history-
of-typewriters November 2010
1915
Japan
The first Japanese typewriter was built in 1915
and could reproduce about three thousand
characters which made it very limited in use.
Typists were highly trained to manage with these
symbols but their work was extremely slow.
http://factoidz.com/short-history-of-the-
japanese-typewriter/ November 2010
1935
US
IBM introduces the electric typewriter.
http://www.warbaby.com/FG_test/Timeline.ht
ml November 2010
1940
China
The "Mingkwai" (clear and quick) invented in the
1940s by Chinese author Lin Yutang, had 72
keys and could print a stunning 90,000 words.
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/02/ho
w-it-works-ch/ November 2010
1974
International
The typewriter is part of our oral revolution.
McLuhan in Essential McLuhan, P.289
(1995)
1978
International
The electronic typewriter, a typewriter with an
electronic memory capable of storing text, first
appeared in 1978. It was developed
independently by the Olivetti Company in Italy and
the Casio Company in Japan.
http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/t
yprwriter.htm November 2010
1978
Japan
The first Japanese word processor programmes
came into use in 1978 and later developments of
computer software meant that an ordinary fifty
character keyboard could be utilized by a
competent typist to produce almost seven
thousand kanji characters. Today's word
processor programs allow anyone who wishes to
type Japanese characters without the need for
intensive training and the facility is now
commonly available in Japanese offices, schools
and homes.
http://factoidz.com/short-history-of-the-
japanese-typewriter/ November 2010
Typewriters Timeline
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