It seems strange to think that there was a time when typing had a tactile, almost rhythmic feel to it. These days, we mostly communicate through computers.

We didn’t just tap our fingers on the keys like you do on a smartphone; we did a full ten-finger dancing.

The typewriter, that mysterious machine that didn’t need power but did need paper and drive, was the instrument for this dance.

The typewriter’s history starts in the late 1800s, a time when communication technology was constantly changing.
The typewriter, which historian Kristen Gallerneaux says wasn’t a big hit right away, is kept at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation.

Christopher Sholes, a printer from Milwaukee, was mostly responsible for its creation. He and Carlos Glidden were inspired by an article in a magazine to make what would become the first widely successful typewriter.

The thing that Sholes and Glidden made, which they appropriately named after themselves, was a technical masterpiece.
It struck a mix between the need for durability, so it could handle users’ “bang away on the keys” efforts, and the need for accuracy, so it could be typed clearly.

Despite being very clever, the typewriter took a long time to become well-known; it really took off in 1874.

The typewriter wasn’t just a great piece of technology; it was also a beautiful piece of design.

The QWERTY keyboard layout was first used on the Sholes and Glidden typewriter. It is so useful that it has stuck around to this day. It keeps letters from getting stuck together by spacing out widely used pairs.

The layout was made to fix a mechanical issue, but it changed the way people use computers today without meaning to.

By the late 1880s, the computer had started to change the way Americans worked.
The debut of the typewriter caused a big change in a field that was mostly done by men at first.

Around 80% of skilled typists were women by 1910, which showed how the office had changed.

It wasn’t just technology that changed; it was also a social revolution that changed the roles of men and women in the workplace.

In order to make typing quieter, people came up with new ideas like the Nodin typewriter.
Its name, a smart reference to the fact that it was silent, showed how typewriter design was always changing.

While the Nodin is a rare gem, the fact that it exists shows how far designers were willing to go to make typing easier.

Not even the electric typewriters are mentioned in our history of typewriters. These added a new level of ease and noise to the typing process.

Still, people who have used early typewriters will always remember how simple the mechanics were and how satisfying it was to type on them.

A lot of people still love to hear the sound of older keyboards clicking away.

In a funny turn of events, the story comes back to typing itself.
The librarian at the Henry Ford Museum lets people use one of these old typewriters.

It feels a lot like typing on a typewriter, which is very different from how easy it is to use a computer these days.

It feels like a link to the past and a memory of how writing technology has changed over time and how charming typing still is.

With its long past and beautiful mechanics, the typewriter is a link to a different time when people communicated. Anyone who remembers will enjoy this pleasant trip down memory lane.

For people who have never done it before, it’s an offer to discover the tactile pleasures of typing, a world where each letter had weight and every word was made by hand.

Even though we live in a digital world now, the typewriter shows that people still want to meet, talk, and make things.

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