Machine Monday: Hammonia

The Hammonia was the first European typewriter to be produced in any numbers; however, this machine is scarce today.


It was invented by Andrew Hanson of London and covered by a British patent in 1882. H. A. Guhl of Hamburg protected it the following year with a German Patent and produced it in his sewing machine factory, Guhl and Harbeck, which later brought out a second typewriter called the Kosmopolit.


The long brass blade has the characters cut out along the bottom edge (see detail below). To operate one lifts the blade and moves it back and forth to select a character, then one pushes the black wooden handle straight down, somewhat like a cheese slicer, to type the character.

The capital type is placed on the ‘saw blade’ with the large wooden handle on the end. The blade is lifted and shifted to select the proper character. Printing was done by pushing the blade down.

The blade automatically moved one space. To the left of the blade you can see the space key.


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