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Rev. W.G. Todd’s modified Edison for the blind

Among the earliest practical applications for mechanical writing was as an aid for the blind. The earliest proto-typewriters, such as Foucault’s 1839 Typograph, served this purpose, and subsequent machines were frequently modified for this purpose, for example, the Merritt Typewriter (see here). Touch typing more generally obviated the need entirely.

The Edison typewriter, an utter failure (as were many index typewriters), found utility as an aid for the blind.

From The Illustrated Phonographic World (New York), June 1895 —

© 2019 – 2018, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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From Scientific American, Feb. 3, 1894 —

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© 2019 – 2018, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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Clement Scott at home

A mere photo in a literary magazine, featuring a typewriter, excited The Phonetic Journal enough to make mention of it in its March 1895 issue. What caught my attention was the name of the machine: “the “inevitable type-writer.” So I searched for a copy of that magazine, found the photo, and discovered that “the inevitable type-writer” was merely the text of a caption, i.e. this individual inevitably owns a typewriter; here’s a photo — nothing more. Disappointment on my end, but the photos… captivating, and so presented here.

The piece features an interview with poet and dramatic critic Scott Clemens (link; story starts on page 311) and sets a wonderful scene.

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© 2019 – 2018, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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Tracing typewriters

An earlier post, A typewriter as detective, described how a stenographer/typist offered key testimony in a court case regarding samples of typewritten material. Interest in this sort of detective work was keen on both sides of the pond.

From an English publication, The Phonetic Journal, April 20, 1895 —

© 2019 – 2018, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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Without the “F” and “K”

From Illustrated Phonographic World, April 1895 —

© 2019 – 2018, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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