The above photo is a 1910 Oliver Typewriter available in our store. Here’s a great quote from a collector’s website:

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the typewriter industry was developing rapidly. Before the Oliver typewriter entered the market, text remained hidden from the typist on the underside of the platen as it was typeset until the platen was lifted. This design was convention across many successful typewriter brands of the era. However, the typewriting industry was soon revolutionized by Reverend Thomas Oliver and his eponymous invention. The Oliver typewriter features two towers of typebars which strike down onto the platen, allowing the text to remain visible at all times. With this iconic typing mechanism, the Oliver become known as The Standard Visible Writer.

from Olivertypewriters.com

History of Manual Typewriters

The history of manual typewriters began in 1575, when an Italian printmaker, Francesco Rampazetto, invented a machine to impress letters on papers. Not until 1714 did a Brit named Henry Mill take out a patent for a machine similar to a typewriter. 

from Writers-Alliance.org

It was until 1874 that these typewriters were commercially introduced to Europe and America. By the early 1900s, the electric typewriter would hit the market.

Tom Thumb Cash Registers and Typewriter

Did you ever get one of these for a Christmas gift? The cash registers came first to be followed in 1953 with the Tom Thumb Typewriter.

Tom Thumb toy typewriter by Western Stamping Co
Tom Thumb toy typewriter by Western Stamping Co.

It was the beginning of the glory days of the durable metal Tom Thumb toy cash register, manufactured exclusively at Western Stamping Co., 2203 W. Michigan Ave.

“I bet they made 600,000 of those cash registers a year for at least 10 years,” said Edna Whiting, 86, of Blackman Township, daughter of Arthur Poole, a company founder.

… The toy cash register’s keys were first attached one at a time. By 1953, they were attached in one process, which upped production and enabled the company to produce half a million cash registers and 100,000 typewriters that year.

from Peek Through Time: Toys fom Western Stamping
Royal manual typewriter 1963
1963 Royal Manual Typewriter

Royal Typewriters

Many of us “boomers” probably remember the heavy black Royal typewriter. They seemed to last FOREVER! This interesting quote may help explain why:

To promote the ruggedness of its typewriters, George Edward Smith, president of Royal bought a Ford-Stout tri-motor airplane in August 1927. This plane will drop over 200 typewriters in crates with parachutes to dealers over the eastern seaboard of the USA. Royal will eventually deliver over 11,000 this way with only 10 being damaged.

from Royal.com

WOW! That’s quite a promotion!!!

Writers and Their Typewriters

Many famous writers used their typewriters, often long after the computer arrived.

Author Will Self explains why writers use a manual typewriter: “I think the computer user does their thinking on the screen, and the non-computer user is compelled, because he or she has to retype a whole text, to do a lot more thinking in the head.”

from Writers Alliance

In 1883, Mark Twain was the first to present his ‘typewritten manuscript” to a publisher. The book? Life on the Mississippi

And did you know that J.R.R. Tolkein typed and retyped his Lord of the Rings manually on a typewriter? Jack Kerouac was a speed typist at 100 words per minute!

Read more about writers and the typewriters in the link in the above post.

No matter what the reason: you love to type on a manual typewriter, you’re fascinated by the mechanics themselves, or you’re a collector! Stop by and browse our collection of typewriters. We’re here and we most certainly are watchin’ for ya!