With a mostly working prototype in hand the men sought funding to help further the development of their machine. They found it in 1868 in the pockets of James Densmore. Densmore, who made his fortune within the oil industry, was impressed enough to quickly purchase a 25% stake in the venture. During 1869, Glidden & Soule lost interest and sold most of their remaining shares to Sholes & Densmore (Soule retained 10% ownership). Patent no.182,511 was applied for for the typewriter in 1872 which was issued in 1876, long after production had begun.

Sholes &


1873 - 1878

Remington Typewriter Works

Ilion, New York, US

The individual credited with the creation of the first commercially successful typewriter, the Sholes & Glidden, is inventor Christopher Latham Sholes (1819 - 1890). Sholes' interest in writing machines was sparked when good friend Carlos Glidden showed him an article about John Pratt's Pterotype. The Pterotype was a typewriter predecessor. Sholes, Glidden and another collaborator, Samuel Willard Soule, a work partner of Sholes', commenced their project in 1866 at Kleinsteuber's Machine Shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1867 they had completed prototype, though crude.

Aesthetically, Sholes & Gliddens were reminiscent of sewing machines, complete with treadles that returned the carriage and stands, not unlike those of sewing machines, to sit upon. Even the Victorian era decorations were sewing machine-ish. These similarities were the result of Remington having produced the Sholes & Glidden in its sewing machine factory in Ilion, NY. Eventually a side lever replaced the foot pedal which also rid the need for the stand. And later, with the final design, the side lever was replaced by a top lever

While constantly improving on the original design, Sholes and Densmore were in search of a major investor to place the typewriter into production. Investors, however, weren't yet ready for a mechanical writing machine. The general consensus was that typewritten letters were too impersonal and the overall benefits were minimal. Disillusioned, Sholes sold his shares to Densmore in 1872.

Densmore then met manufacturer and super-salesman George Newton Washington Yost who facilitated a meeting with the Remington company in March of 1873. Remington, a gun and sewing machine manufacturer, was looking for additional revenue streams to compliment its business. Remington was confident enough in the invention they were presented with that 1,000 units were contracted immediately.

I should note that, no matter the version, all Sholes & Gliddens had circular upstrike typebar arrangements which typed uppercase exclusively.

Among the reasons for the success of the Sholes & Glidden was the ability of the user to type faster than to write with a quill pen (ballpoint pens weren't yet invented). The keyboard's QWERTY layout helped in no small part with this achievement by separating commonly used letters in order to prevent jam-ups. Less jam-ups meant faster typing.

Another reason was the high level of legibility, which was a definite benefit in commercial environments. Also, because more of the public was reaching higher levels of education, the production of immediate and legible text was becoming more of a necessity in learning institutions.

Lastly, clerical work was preformed primarily by men prior to the era of the typewriter, but once the typewriter became commonplace in offices, women migrated to those jobs. And since they were willing to work for less employers hired them instead.

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I'm always on the hunt for Sholes & Gliddens. Have one for sale? Email me at Antikey.Chop@gmail.com or call +1 (860) 729-2252