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Typewriters were created to allow the creation of written documents, by individuals, by pushing simply upon keys. The first typewriter was created in 1868 by C.L. Sholes.

Typing classes mushroomed at the end of the 19th Century, and this helped many women to enter paid work for the first time. By 1901, Britain had 166,000 female clerks, up from 2,000 half a century before. [1]

The original typewriters were manual, but they later became electric. A piece of paper was inserted, usually into the machine, and the act of depressing of a key would cause a metal hand with that key shape to push forward and strike the page, upon which time the paper would move forward for the displacement of the next keys.

Humans had the capacity of typing faster than was that of the machine and its mechanical parts could handle, so the odd key placement which used to be common on typewriters was invented to slow down typing speed.

Today typewriters have become rare, having been replaced by keyboards on computers that use printers. Yet they are still preferred by some people:

"I have never had an accident where I have pressed a button and accidentally sent seven chapters into cyberspace, never to be seen again. And have you ever tried to hack into my typewriter? It is very secure." [2]


The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989