The timeline Index typewriters Keyboard typewriters Related collectables


First year of production:
Guhl & Harbeck , Hamburg , Germany
Serial nr:

This is the only typewriter in history that could easily be mistaken for a paper cutter. It is in fact the first typewriter to be produced in Germany. This 1882 linear index machine was invented by A. Hansen-Hamburg.

The Hammonia is one of the most spectacular typewriter designs in history. The type (caps only) is placed on the 'saw blade' with the large wooden handle on the end. To choose a letter, one would lift the blade and shift it until the index pointer pointed at the right character on the index card. Printing was done by pushing the blade down.

After printing, the blade was automatically moved one space along the width of the machine. To the left of the blade you can see the space key. In stead of using the space key, one could also pull the blade all the way forward to print an empty character.

The Hammonia used a 20 meter ribbon of carbon paper or inked silk. The ribbon was stored in a case under the index card. (pic 5) The ribbon was fed under a piece of glass, in a straight angle to the direction of writing. Accordingly the written text was immediately visible. The ribbon moved forward on every character and lasted 540 pages before it needed to be replaced.

A folding leg under the base of the machine (pics 3 and 4) allowed for it to be placed at an angle for easier operation.

Courtesy of: Costa collection