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McCool Syllabic Typewriter

McCool Syllabic


Reverend Henry Gaylord McCool (1864 - 1936) patented this typewriter in 1909 under patent no.943,444. It was supposed to be capable of typing whole syllables from its 192 keys which were "arranged in twelve horizontal rows of sixteen keys each, and each key bearing three symbols, to wit,`a single letter and two syllables of two and three letters respectively. By use of such keyboard, greatly speed in writing may be attained." Previously, in 1908, McCool received patent no.886,149 specifically for a syllabic keyboard layout. That patent was first applied for on August 21, 1906 so McCool was working on his typewriter for at least 3 years.

According to a descendant of Reverend McCool's that I spoke with, a prototype of this typewriter was actually produced while McCool lived in Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. He also stated that McCool sold off many personal belongings in order to raise money to have it prototyped. Unfortunately, the typewriter was never produced commercially and, saddest of all, upon McCool's death, the fellow I spoke with stated that his widow donated much of his estate to a Goodwill-type institution... including the typewriter.

McCool Syllabic Typewriter

Very interestingly, this is one of two typewriters that was patented by a Pennsylvanian named McCool within a couple years of each other. The two men are seemigly unrelated. The other McCool typewriter is here.

Typewriter history is littered with typewriters like this Syllabic McCool. Some were made briefly while others were only prototyped. Then there are those that never made it past getting patented. Most get lost in time but once in a while, and to the delight of all us typewriter enthusiast, a scant few reemerge. That's what makes typewriters exciting, right?

McCool Syllabic Typewriter

Questions? Comments? Do you have a photo of this McCool Typewirter or its inventor? Do you have the typewriter? Please email me at or call +1 860-729-2252

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