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1880: The 15-pound “portable” typewriter

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 –

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© 2022, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.


Jack’s plan

Two boys at a telegraph (not a typewriter) in an 1893 issue of Harper’s Young People, from the story “Bill and I.”

Harper’s Young People (New York), February 29, 1893 –

“Like it was a piano and they were tunes” has poetic quality!

© 2022, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.


The “writer,” a name that didn’t stick

The following description, published only two years after the introduction of the Sholes & Glidden “Type Writer,” is mostly boilerplate, but it does include one interesting nugget: the author ends, calling the machine a “writer.” This is a name that ultimately did not stick.

The Courier and Argus (Scotland), April 5, 1876 –

© 2022, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.


A typewriter’s useful dog (1894)

Marshall County Democrat (Lacon, Illinois), September 27, 1894 –

© 2022, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.


Whittled a wooden typewriter (1889)

You can read about Peter Mitterhofer’s typewriter here (a reproduction is pictured above), but how about Lewis O. Fjærli’s wooden construction:

The Cambridge Transcript (Cambridge, Vermont), April 24, 1889 –

© 2022, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

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