top of page
The Golden Rule Typewriter

The Golden Rule Type Writer


Golden Rule Type Writing Co.

Boston, MA, U.S.

I remember a TV commercial in which a kid walks up to a pizza counter and orders a pizza with extra cheese but without any tomato sauce or crust. So the guy behind the counter yells to a perplexed cook for a "pizza with nothing." The kid is then served a stick of cheese, Polly-O String Cheese to be exact. That's how I feel about The Golden Rule Type Writer. It's as if someone ordered a typewriter but with no keyboard, no index, no self inking mechanism or any other common features. The Golden Rule is what they then received. Basically, its a bunch of printing blocks, a rule and a flat platen. This all may seem funny but, like Polly-O String Cheese, The Golden Rule Typewriter was actually produced.

The Golden Rule Typewriter Ad

These typewriters were first marketed in 1882. Then, in 1883, according to research provided by collector F. Mantelli, they were rebranded as The Universal. The Golden Rule version was made by the Golden Rule Type Writing Company which was located at 25 Congress Street in Boston, Massachusetts. The Universal version was sold by C.H. Spaulding & Company, also of Boston, located at 43 Washington Street. The Spaulding company appears to have been a dealer so I'm doubt if they actually produced and of these typewriters. Though the platen on these is was labeled with "Patent Applied For," I have yet to find any corroborating evidence of an actual patent. 

Golden Rules $2 for the generic version and $3 for the upgraded model. They came with a total of 96 characters (three sets of 32) and 4 various colored inks. They worked almost like a rubber stamp would. The user would slide a piece of paper between the wooden scale and platen, select a character, ink it and then apply the character to paper. 

The original purpose of any typewriter was to quickly produce legible text. For that reason alone The Golden Rule Typewriter deserved to fail, and it did. Though it was advertised for professional use by tradesmen, it really was nothing more than a children's novelty, a toy. One could probably argue that The Golden Rule typewriter was the equivalent of a quack medical device for writing machines, a scam.

If you happen to find the original patent for this machine, please share. I would love to find out who was responsible for its design. If you happen to find a Golden Rule or an International, then definitely contact me at

The Golden Rule Typewriter
bottom of page