A Very Brief Visual History of the Typewriter

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This excerpt from a World War II-era instructional film includes an overview of early typewriters. Courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, Basic Typing is 30 minutes long and available in two parts (part Ipart II), in case you happen to be extremely interested in a career as a typist, circa 1944. 

Higher resolution images of these historic models of typewriters are available thanks to Wikipedia. The first model mentioned in the film, the Typographer, patented by William Austin Burt in 1829, was America's first typewriter. An illustration of Burt demonstrating the device and a diagram from the patent are below.

The Sholes & Glidden Type-Writer, below, was the first to feature a QWERTY keyboard, in 1873.

For more images of typewriters through the ages, see Nicholas Jackson's "Last Typewriter Factory in the World Shuts Its Doors.

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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