≡ Menu

1880: The 15-pound “portable” typewriter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In the mid-1980s, there was an outfit in the San Francisco Bay Area that converted Mac Ses into portable computers. These altered machines were heavier than the originals, but, oh, how I wanted one. Only the price (and the fact that I could lug my SE around) prevented me from making a purchase.

I imagine that in the 1880s, the notion of a portable typewriter (albeit 15 pounds!) appealed to certain people. What machine is described in the following article is unknown, but apparently it was a “luggable” typewriter, which was noticed on a train:

The Brantford Daily Expositor (Brantford, Ontario, Canada), November 1, 1880 –

The typed image of a train (above) was take from the Railway and Locomotive Engineering (New York), October 1902 –

© 2022, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • parisianfields.com December 8, 2022, 1:44 am

    Loved the reference to the “luggable” machine. My first computer was a Kaypro II portable which at 26 pounds was hardly portable. It was luggable and soon earned it’s keep. I had been hired to write a history of a hospital and figured I could afford $5,000 for computer and printer. Most places laughed but not the Kaypro folks. I agreed to the price providing they would deliver it to my home office and set it up. I had had too many friends with computers they could not come to terms with. The vendor found my conditions curious but agreed and on the day of delivery it started to earn me money. Soon I was happily working and bought a new station wagon. The book turned out well except for a few curious details regarding authorship but that is another tale.
    I look forward to more good typewriter tales.

  • Norman Ball December 8, 2022, 1:52 am

    Loved the comment about the “luggable.” My first computer was a Kaypro II portable which at 26 pounds was best described as luggable. I had been commissioned to write a history of a hospital and thought with my fee I could afford $5,000 for a computer and printer. Most places laughed at my budget but not the Kaypro folks. I added one condition to the sale: it had to be delivered to my home office and set up. They thought it curious but complied and the same day it was earning money. The book turned out well with a few wrinkles about the authorship but it also paid for a new Ford Fairmont station wagon. And when the carwash turned the “t” into an “i” I told my non-car-savvy friends it was a prototype Ford Fairmoni from Italy. Every body was happy.
    Have a great Christmas and may 2023 be much kinder to all that was 2022.

  • Richard P December 9, 2022, 3:21 pm

    A portable in 1880? Could it have been a prototype Baby Sholes? The very first Caligraph no. 1? (It weighs 10 lbs. according to https://typewriterdatabase.com/caligraph.47.typewriter-serial-number-database.)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Next post:

Previous post: