This Day in Business History: The Birth of the Commercial Typewriter

March 1, 1873: While the history of the development of the typewriter dates back to the 16th century, in the U.S., production on one of the first commercially made typewriters began on March 1, 1873 by E. Remington & Sons, known for manufacturing sewing machines.  Initially marketed under the name Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer for the individuals who originally held the patent, the model eventually became known as the Remington Typewriter.  It is this machine, known as Underwood Model No. 5, that popularized the QWERTY keyboard layout that we still use today.  The success of the machine led to competitor models and by 1901, the use of the typewriter had increased so much that a New York Tribune article made it clear that the typewriter was already an essential tool for many businesses. Production on No. 5 ceased in 1932 and the company was sold in 1963.

Many of these machines are currently housed in the Smithsonian Museum.  So popular were they that as part of the WWII war effort, they were in such demand by the government that they actively solicited business, schools and homes to donate their typewriters in support of the cause.

Source: Science, Technology & Business, Library of Congress