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He did not invent the first typewriter, but John Pratt did invent one of the first practical typewriters. His designs inspired the Christopher Latham Sholes and Carlos Glidden who introduced the first “Type Writer” in 1874. Pratt died this day in 1905.

Chattanooga Daily Times (Chattanooga, Tennessee), June 25, 1905 —

© 2023, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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Riding the rails… (1900)

A. M. Stone riding a lumber train. He worked for the L. And M. Alexander and Company in San Francisco as an agent for Smith Premier.1 Click image to view larger.

The Typewriter and Phonographic World (New York), August 1900 –

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© 2023, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

  1. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Sonora/D8jzdPSQAzcC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=a%20m%20stone%20typewriter&pg=PA53&printsec=frontcover []
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“How horrid! How American!”

Typed letters were still a novelty in the early 20th century, and recipients were sometimes offended by these seemingly impersonal notes. Such was the case when the Duchess of Marlborough sent out correspondence from her typewriter. “How horrid! How American!” was the feeling of some. Of course the Duchess was American: Consuelo Vanderbilt married the 9th Duke in 1895. But, as noted below, she was not the only aristocrat to adopt the typewriter.

The Typewriter and Phonographic World (New York), March 1901 –

Read about the Duchess here.

© 2023, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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Truth in advertising?

It looks like a full-sized portable along the lines of the 1919 Underwood Portable, but it’s quite smaller.

Ultra-portable typewriters in the 1910s were certainly compact but not exactly practical. Bennett manufactured several portable models that were just a bit larger than a pencil box, but not nearly as large as pictured in some of their advertisements.

Popular Mechanics, April 1913 –

Some advertisements presented a more realistic image:

The Cornell Civil Engineer, 1913 –

It is type-able:

More on the Bennett here.

© 2023, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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Boiled typewriters

The Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, Arizona), March 10, 1906 —

Coventry Standard, April 22, 1965 —

© 2023, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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