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Hear it type

Had it gone into production, Theodore D. Robinson’s typewriter would have been music to the ears. Each keystroke on this novel machine would have rung a different note, making a sort of melody. Robinson did not explain why this would be useful — perhaps as an aid to the blind? — but each keystroke would produce a sound much like a telephone keypad. Robinson filed his patent in 1902.

To make this melody, the keys would strike sounding bells. “The bells are so constructed,” explained Robinson, “that each bell has a distinct and individual sound different from that of all the other bells, or a series of bells may have the same distinct sound which differs from the sound of another series of bells.”

Further, the operator could “tune” his or her machine, substituting bells of different sizes and thicknesses, and adjusting the striking position so that the levers struck different portions of the bell.

The patent can be found here. Robinson filed a number of patents for various inventions. This is his only typewriter patent.

© 2019, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tyler A. July 7, 2019, 2:21 am

    I’ve seen a picture of, I believe, the Sears and Roebuck office where they had a whole open floor of typists on Olivers. Dozens and dozens of people, typing orders and correspondence for what was the pre-internet version of the internet for buying goods. And when people bring up how loud typewriters are, or even suggest these machines that add extra bells to that sound, I think about what that would have sounded like in a closed, non-soundproofed room such as that…

    It’s a wonder they could still hear after even a day of that.

  • Bill M July 7, 2019, 2:50 am

    Quite a novelty, but I doubt very practical for the additional noise.

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