The S&G Typewriter

by annagrant94


Numerous inventors worked on inventing typewriters, the first success of this was the writing ball created by Rasmus Malling-Hasnsen in 19870. The devices appearance resembled the look of a pin cushion.

 1Writing Ball

 From the writing ball came the Sholes and Glidden Type Writer invented by Christopher L Sholes, which started to be produced in 1873 and was sold within the America market in 1974.

Sholes was a part time inventor also working as a newspaper man and a poet. The Sholes typewriter that he invented typed only with capital letters so he then introduced the QWERTY keyboard which is still used widely within most keyboarded products today. The keyboard style was made so that keys would be slightly more separated to allow for the more frequently used keys to not clash and get jammed whilst printing.

The design of the S&G typewriter had a decorative detail on the body of the typewriter making it look like a sewing machine; this was because the typewriters were produced in the same department as the Remington arms company as the sewing machines.

 2The S&G Typewriter

The Sholes and Glidden Typewriter and many earlier typewriters where known as “blind” typewriters. This meant that the type bars were positioned in a circular basket shape underneath the printing surface which meant the writer would have to lift up the carriage to see their work which must have become quite frustrating and time consuming. Also with the earlier typewriters both the upper and lower-case letters had separate keys so one letter would have both lower case key and an upper-case key making keyboard twice the size of a QWERTY keyboard. Below shows an example of the full keyboard and also the “blind” printing surface.


The QWERTY keyboard was introduced as the universal keyboard as it made things so much easier for typing by just having one keyboard. From 1884 to 1891 there were different variations of the QWERTY keyboard typewriters but nothing had been invented to change the blind typing.

The Daughtery Visible was one of the first typewriters to have a visible typing bar so you could see what you were typing. By the 1920’s mostly all typewriters were look a likes and  using the QWERTY keyboard, type bar machines printing through ribbon.


The typewriters that were produced after the 1920’s model just adapted simple things such as creating electric ones which meant not as much effort would have to be put into touching the keys and also a smoother transition of the keys so they wouldn’t jam.


1940s 1940’s

1950's 1950’s

1960's 1960’s

1970's 1970’s

1990's 1990’s

The Soles and Gidden QWERTY keyboard is something that is still being used today on laptops, computer, touch phones and tablets it is something that is used worldwide and was taken from the inventor of the typewriter.  Without this invention who knows what layout of a keyboard we would have, or maybe not have a keyboard at all.

A type writer can be either electric or manual; it has a type key that produces the characters one at a time on a piece of paper that is inserted around the roller within the typewriter. Typewriters have been replaced with computers and printers, but can still be purchased. As still many people use them, I believe they are making a comeback with all different generations of people.

Click here to view a link of an article showing 2012 marked the end of production for typewriters, and the people that still use them.

I own an electric typewriter, I do love the typewriters from the 30’s-50’s  the beautiful ascetic quality when you look at them and also the ascetic quality in the lettering and the way things are personally typed is something a computer could never take over.


TypeWriter Movie. (2011). The Typewriter (In the 21st Century).Available: Last accessed 12/11/13.

Gerry Holt. (2012). Five reasons to still use a typewriter. Available: Last accessed 12/11/13.

Mary Bellis. Typewriters. Available: Last accessed 12/11/13.

Richard Polt. (-). A Brief History of Typewriters. Available: Last accessed 12/11/13.

Typing Through Time: Keyboard History. Available: Last accessed 12/11/13.