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The Influence of Typewriters

If any of you has had the pleasure of using a typewriter then your grandkids must really have a cool grandparent.  

I bet most of you have never used or even seen a typewriter! 

About 30 years ago, typewriters were as common as computers are today. They were a major technological innovation. Like all other technological inventions such as printers and computers, typewriters had a large influence on business and office work.

What is a Typewriter?

A typewriter is a mechanical device used to print numbers, alphabets, and characters onto a piece of paper that is attached to a roller. Unlike a computer where you type then print, for a typewriter one just inserts a paper and types on it. When you press the keyboard letters, the typewriter impresses (prints) the letters as you type. The paper comes out as a printed copy.


It is hard to pinpoint the original creator or inventor of the typewriter. There were many inventors around the world who had tried to come up with a writing machine as early as the 15th century but none was practical.

Christopher Latham Scholes, an American citizen, came up with a functional and reliable typewriter that he patented in 1868. He was into newspapers and printing and in a bid to make his business efficient, he got the urge to come up with a writing machine. Later sold the patent to E. Remington and Sons who made it a success.

Typewriters and printers typically do the same job. The typewriter was invented to replace the pen so as to achieve more writing speed. The printer, on the other hand, was invented to help print multiple copies of a similar document. You can say both machines borrowed from each other. The typewriter specifically influenced a number of things in the business world.

PHOTO: Business Insider

Influence of the Typewriter

QWERTY Keyboard 

Today, it is rare to come across a typewriter. In fact, a majority of the population has no idea what it is. Well, we might think we are so techy with all our smartphones, ipads, and computers. 

What you do not know is that the QWERTY keyboard arrangement you use daily on your gadgets started with typewriters in the 17th century.  

The arrangement was influenced by mechanics at E. Remington and Sons. As a selling point, the mechanics arranged the letters in a way that the letters that make the word ‘TYPEWRITER’ appeared on one row. This way, the salesmen would quickly type the brand name (typewriter) to win clients.   

Female Employment

History is a great thing. It teaches us where we have been and future possibilities. Today, women are spread all across all sectors of the economy and it is a great thing. 

Women in those early years did less strenuous jobs and clerical work was considered feminine. With the invention of the typewriter, secretarial jobs became lucrative for women. One needed the skill of using a typewriter to be employed. Typists were held in high regard and it was viewed as career growth for women.  


When was the last time you used a pen? Rarely, right? Well, typewriter technology revolutionized communication. Information was written efficiently. Typewriting consumed less time making communication faster. 

Businesses and governments adapted typewriters in their everyday affairs. Documents were created faster and there was uniformity. Office workers became more productive and efficient. 


Technology has come a long way. The typewriter made an impact and some of it can be seen and felt today. The QWERTY keyboard came with typewriters! Now you know. It also inspired women’s empowerment. If you have had any experience with a typewriter you’ve got tales to tell. It is such a baffling and inspiring innovation bearing in mind that it was created in the 19th century.

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