The Light of Typewriting – Hartford Typewriters (Apr, 1902)

I love that the type in the box below is crooked.

According to this inflation calculator, $65 is about $1590 in 2009. So basically it’s an iMac.

The Light of Typewriting – Hartford Typewriters

The Acme of Perfection

Hartford Typewriters made with either single or double keyboard. Price $65.00. Catalogue on application.

HARTFORD TYPEWRITER CO., 478 Capitol Ave.. Hartford, Conn., U.S.A

  1. Stephen Edwards says: April 15, 20109:49 am

    I love the double keyboard. Oh yes, it’s important to me that I only have to press one key to get a capital letter instead of two.

    It would be ironic if the typewriter itself had produced the crooked lettering below, but it almost certainly didn’t: it’s proportionally spaced and is probably standard lead type.

    “The Acme of Perfection”? Who talks like that?

  2. Charlene says: April 15, 201010:58 am

    Stephen, double keyboards didn’t exist because lazy users found it easier to only push one key. They were the original form of keyboard. It didn’t help that early shift keys simply didn’t work very well. They’d only move the keybed halfway up or they’d move it too far, and the typist ended up constantly erasing or X-ing out accidentally superscripted or half-typed capital letters. Shift keys could also stick, which would force the typist to fiddle with the mechanism until the keybed dropped back down.

    At this point, though, the shift key had been all but perfected, and most typists preferred the new single keyboards. Others resisted the change, preferring their old double keyboards. Typists were known to have come to blows over their relative merits. I can just imagine some double keyboard enthusiast instructing all his friends struggling with sticking single keyboards to “get a double”. Naturally, double keyboards were twice the price of single keyboards without offering any real advantage once the shift key problems were resolved, but still double keyboard enthusiasts made themselves out to be smarter and better than single keyboard fans simply because of the typewriter keyboard they chose to use.

    Of course, we in the 21st century are far beyond that kind of arrogant, self-important posturing, especially over such irrelevant matters as personal communications devices.

  3. Buddy says: April 15, 201011:07 am

    I always liked that older keyboards didn’t have numerals 1 or 0, you substituted l or O.

    I remember writing an advanced algebra exam where the typist used that convention. There was one set of problems where the convention was to use l as the unknown. On the exam, “l” was indistinguishable from “1”, so I indicated that I assumed it was 1 as per exam regulations in the event that there is some uncertainty or ambiguity which greatly simplified that set of problems. Basically being a smartass. I don’t think I went through a semester without appealing something or other.

  4. Toronto says: April 15, 201011:40 am

    Sadly, lots of font still make it impossible to tell an “l” from a “1” visually. It can really mess up an inventory of a computer centre.

  5. George says: April 15, 20103:00 pm


  6. StanFlouride says: April 19, 20107:21 pm

    If you’re old enough to have used one of these, this 4 second video will amuse you:…

  7. Don says: April 20, 20108:27 am

    @Stephan: “Acme of Perfection” doesn’t mean quite the same anymore, after the Road Runner cartoons….

    @StanF: GOOD one!

  8. Tom says: April 21, 20106:02 pm

    Wow! $65 in 1902 bucks is around $1500 today!

    @Buddy – I learned to type on an manual typewriter with no zero or one characters!

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