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One of a Kind
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One of a Kind

Some machines were built but never reached the market. They were hand made attempts by inventors, or factory prototypes. Many of these are obviously lost, but some have survived. They're in museums, or private property. We've collected some for this special page in the history section of the Virtual Typewriter Museum.

1. Cooper. This very early circular index typewriter was built by John. H. Cooper in 1856. The Cooper used a revolving type disc, like many later index machines. The machine is thought to be the first to combine a platen with paper feed rolls, and a rachet and dog mechanism to move the carriage step by step. (Milwaukee Public Museum)

2 Diamond. The Milwaukee Public Museum says that this machine was built by Fred Sholes, one of C.L. Sholes's sons in 1923. The machine seems to have been constructed on the basic frame of the Sholes Visible.

3 Hanson. Walter Hanson of Milwaukee is said to be the inventor is this unique typewriter with a vertical platen. The Milwaukee Public Museum catalog says that the idea was that the rotation of the platen would facilitate a quicker return to the starting point of writing. Walter died at 21 and left his unfinished design behind. The machine was picked up by the Milwaukee Rev. Chas. S. Nickerson:

4. Nickerson 3. Nickerson took the unfinished Hanson design and had a completely new machine built that was patented in 1909. Work continued and several prototypes were produced. At one point AT&T even invested a small fortune to develop the ultimate production model. However, production never got off the ground and the Nickerson prototype ended up in the Milwaukee Public Museum, next to the Hanson.

5 Peirce. The Milwaukee Public Museum catalog says that this is the Peirce Accounting Machine, produced by the Peirce Accounting Machine Company in 1912. Absolutely no further details are available.

6 H? A large capital H is the only indication on this odd typewriter that the Milwaukee Public Museum has. The museum decided to call it the Horton, because one E.E. Horton of Toronto, Canada, had invented an entirely different typewriter in 1883. The machine has an index pointer attached to small type-levers, that are said to 'perform a very remarkable revolution when striking the platen, entirely different from those of any other known machine.

(All pictures on this page were kindly provided by typewriter historian and journalist Darryl Rehr)