Who Invented the Typewriter?

Do you know who invented the typewriter?

With the continuous emergence of mechanical gadgets like computer keyboards, you may have thought that the earlier products of geniuses that made life easier for those who write may be lost in memory. Not so. Keep in mind that without the person who invented the typewriter, these computer keyboards wouldn’t have been made and produced nowadays if not from an earlier proto-type in the form of a typewriter.

The First Model
That is why we need to give credit to Christopher Latham Sholes, an American mechanical engineer, who was able to invent the first known practical modern typewriter in 1866 together with some colleagues, Samuel Soulé and Carlos Glidden. This first version was patented in 1868.

After thousands of experiments done in five years, and after having patented their inventions twice, Sholes, Soulé, and Glidden were able to have a more improved version that is actually similar to some of the current typewriter models.

The QWERTY Standard
With the earlier version made by Sholes and friends, the best feature of the typewriter that they consider is the type-bar system and its universal keyboard. But then, after sometime, with – perhaps – constant use, they noticed that the typewriter keys jammed.

To help the situation, James Densmore, who was also a business associate of the group, made a good suggestion that would help the model work better. The suggestion involved splitting up the typewriter’s keys for specific letters of the alphabet that is usually used together to help slow down the process of typing. Later, this became known as the “QWERTY” keyboard that we now use in typewriters and also computer keyboards.

The Product Market
Since Sholes was not very patient enough – a trait that was needed to market a particular product successfully – the rights of the improved typewriter model was then sold to Densmore.

However, Densmore didn’t market the product alone as Sholes had probably expected. Rather, Densmore asked the assistance of Philo Remington of rifle fame to help with the marketing process, which Remington did successfully.

And, in 1874, the first “Sholes and Glidden Type Writer” was sold.

The first sale wasn’t an immediate success though. But, what was interesting to note is that these people didn’t give up. In fact, Remington engineers of the Remington Arms company conducted further improvements to the model.

After some years after, when the better version was up for sale, it received more market appeal and sales soared upwards.

For Sholes and colleagues who invented the typewriter, and the group of Densmore and Remington who were involved in further improvements of the typewriter model, most of us should probably thank these great contributions to the market industry of machines. For, without these people, no one would probably see and use the other similar products that had been built and marketed such as the computer keyboards of today.