Why typewriters?
Social relevance
-George Blickensderfer
-Lee Burridge
-William McCool
-John Molle
-Chr. L. Sholes
One of a Kind
The end of history

Who invented the typewriter?

For short biographical articles on inventors, follow the links in the navigation bar on the left.

First attempts.
The first patent for a writing machine was granted in London in 1714 to an engineer called Henry Mill. But there had been earlier attempts to create writing machines, particularly as a means for blind people to communicate in writing. There were several more or less succesful attempts at building typewriters, particularly in the United States (Burt - 1829 (pic 2); Francis - 1859), but also in Europe where an Austrian carpenter (Mitterhofer-Pic 1) and a Danish clergyman (Hansen) literally wrote history.

Other claimants to the title of 'Inventor of the Typewriter' can be found in France, Italy, Russia and other nations. However, it was Christopher Latham Sholes (pic 3), a printer from Milwaukee, who designed and built a machine that was to be produced as the Sholes & Glidden Type Writer by the Remington factory in Ilion, New York.

Sholes gave the world the word 'typewriter' as well as the 'qwerty' keyboard. Sholes' partners in his typewriter enterprise were Carlos Glidden (pic 4) and James Densmore (pic 5).

Other names involved with the development and marketing of the Sholes & Glidden typewriter were Remington and Yost, names that would earn their own place in typewriter history soon after the introduction of the S&G in 1874.

Picture 6 shows one of the earliest know samples of a typewritten letter. It is an 1869 letter by Sholes to Densmore, discussing several aspects of the machine he was working and writing on.