Machine Monday: Sholes & Glidden


In 1868 a patent was granted to Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glidden for a “Type-Writer”.  The Sholes and Glidden Typewriter was born.  It was the first device that allowed the user to type faster than handwriting.  The writer introduced Sholes newly designed keyboard layout, referred to as “QWERTY”.


The patent was sold to Densmore and Yost, who made a production agreement with Remington and Sons.  The Sholes and Glidden Typewriter hit the market in 1873.  Remington and Sons was known for their sewing machine line, which led to an oddly similar look to the casement for the typewriter.  The flowery artwork was reminiscent of the sewing machines the company was producing.  The Sholes and Glidden Typewriter even came attached to a sewing machine-like table, at first.


The machine had its drawbacks.  It could only type in capital letters and was a blind machine (the typist could not see what was on the paper until after typing was complete).  The lack of an established market and an unfamiliar technology led to a very slow adoption of typewriters.  The Sholes and Glidden Typewriter was an expensive and new technology.  A foot was in the door, opening the way for more advanced machines.  It wouldn’t be until the introduction of the Remington 2 in 1878 (the Sholes and Glidden was understood to be the Remington 1), that the market was ready to accept the typewriter as a necessary tool of business and communication.


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