Why typewriters?
Social relevance
One of a Kind
The end of history

Women at work.

A 1923 book on the early history of the typewriter*, featured a portrait of Christopher Latham Sholes, inventor of the first production typewriter, as the savior of women.

It is highly unlikely that Sholes consciously invented the typewriter with the intention of furthering women's liberation, but it is a fact that this office appliance had a major impact on office life in the western world.

The typewriter gave women jobs in the office and an opportunity to work as freelance 'typewriters' in offices where a fulltime use for the machine wasn't feasible yet.

In that sense the invention of the typewriter played a major role in eventually giving women economic power, an equal position in the labor force and a voice in business.

But there was still a long way to go, as is illustrated by a sheer endless series of telltale postcards that appeared in the early 20th Century. One more explicitly than the other (pic 5), they all told the same story about the boss cheating his wife with his secretary.

The same theme also appeared in several series of stereo view pictures, usually ending with the lovebirds being caught by the boss' wife. Note that the wife in these series always beats up the secretary, and never the husband...

Picture 4 shows an example from the British satyrical magazine Punch (1908). The caption reads: "Yes, they actually complained in the office today, because we were talking too much. They wouldn't do that if we were men!"

* The History of the Typewriter
1873-1923. Herkimer County
Historical Society