Paper-y people across the country: you have an upcoming reason to celebrate! Our dear friend the typewriter will be celebrating a birthday on June 23rd!
from wiki: “The Sholes and Glidden typewriter had its origin in a printing machine designed in 1866 by Christopher Latham Sholes to assist in printing page numbers in books, and serial numbers on tickets and other items.Sholes, a Wisconsin printer, formed a partnership with Samuel W. Soule, also a printer, and together they began development work in Charles F. Kleinsteuber’s machine shop, a converted mill in northern Milwaukee. Carlos S. Glidden, an inventor who frequented the machine shop, became interested in the device and suggested that it might be adapted to print alphabetical characters as well.”
Thus, the typewriter (as we would come to know it) was born!
Fast forward, 1956: Jack Kerouac was fast at typing; it frustrated him to have to change paper so often. Allen Ginsberg went on record stating that Kerouac was an incredibly fast typist, averaging 110-120 words per minute. When writing “On the Road” Kerouac improvised, taking long sheets of drawing paper and trimming them to fit into his typewriter (a Hermes 3000), then typing out what would become known as “On the Road”. When taped together, the manuscript was/is 120 feet long. (side note: here is an amazing website devoted to the Kerouac scroll’s travels)
So how will you celebrate the typewriter’s birthday? I’m going to start by sending out a handful of goodies that are –of course!– typed, as opposed to handwritten. But I’d love to hear whether or not you will be creating a special mailing to commemorate our trustworthy friend’s 146 birthday!
PS: a fun additional fact — the YWCA set up the first typing school in 1881! Following in their footsteps, typewriter manufacturers established schools of their own which also included lessons in shorthand.
PPS: the above photo of the Hermes 3000 was taken from the website machinesoflovinggrace.com. If you like that, Alan’s got another blog called Stapler Fetish and oh-my-god-I’ve-died-and-gone-to-heaven: it’s pretty swoon-worthy.