A Very Brief Visual History of the Typewriter

More

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.

Jump to comments

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

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In