In 1868, the Remington Brothers and Sons invented the
first successful typewriter. The Glidden typewriters only typed capital letters
and the person typing couldn’t see the letters they were typing unless they
lifted up a cover to look at the tiny letters. Letters got on a piece of paper
by having little stampers of letters resting in ink, and when you pressed a key,
the stamp would fly up and hit the paper making an ink letter appear in the
paper. These typewriters were called blind writers.
Glidden originally had the keys in ABC order and people got used to the ABC keyboard so they typed fast. When they typed fast, two letters would often come up at the same time. This was called jamming. Glidden fixed that problem by scattering around the keys so the people had to type slower. Then jamming was not a problem anymore. The Remington No. 2 was the first typewriter to have a shift key so typewriters could type in both CAPITAL LETTERS and lower case letters.
Thomas Underwood was mad at the Remington brothers because the Remington No. 2 was such a big hit. He made his own typewriter. His typewriter was the first typewriter showing the words on paper. This typewriter was called the Underwood No. 1, 5.5. Other companies copied the Underwood No.1, 5.5. Henry Dreyfuss made a typewriter with a dull finish to reduce eyestrain. He also made a portable typewriter.
IBM made a typeball the size of a golf ball, with all the letters and numbers on it instead of individual type bars. You’d use the type ball as if it were a mouse. The ball moved but the paper stayed still. Typing became faster, quieter and easier.
The idea of electric typewriters began in 1902 by Blikcens Defer. Defer was also a pioneer in adapting electricity to typewriters in the early ages. Electric typewriter keys looked just like computer keyboards of today, except the groups of keys were moved to the far right.
Did you know that computer keyboards have been around for a long time? We have been using the computer keyboard for almost 65 years! But before the computer keyboard, the typewriter keyboard had been around for 131 years! Computers have the advantage over typewriters because on a computer you can make changes on your work very easily and also you can save information on a disk to work on more at a later time.