1886 - 1893
World Type Writer Co.
Portland, ME, US
The World was a very simple index typewriter. It was developed by noted inventor/manufacturer John Becker, of Boston, MA, who patented it on October 12, 1886 (patent no.350,717). Index typewriters were a popular substitute to keyboard machines since most people hadn't yet mastered touch typing during those first few decades of typewriter production.
To operate one of these, the user would swing the pointer along the crescent shaped index to a desired character and then depress the lever to the left of the carriage to print. With just 30 pieces, there really weren't any other features to these typewriters. There were two basic models produced, a No.1 model that typed uppercase exclusively and a No.2 model that typed both uppercase and lowercase.
At about 3 lbs. and 1/10 the cost of some typewriters, the World was marketed as a very portable and inexpensive alternative to bulkier standard machines, as well as a superior alternative to other index typewriters. An 1887 article in The American Stationer explains, "The World is not offered as a competitor of the high-priced, two handed type-writer, but is a strong competitor with all low-priced machines. Although a one-handed machine, the World type-writer is a quick machine, and in skillful hands it can be operated rapidly." The article also claimed that a skilled user could produce as much as 80 words per minute with a "one-handed" World. Personally, I doubt it.
The World was produced by several manufacturers. Initially it was the World Type-Writer Company of Portland, ME and then Pope Manufacturing of Boston, MA took over and produced the World out of its Hartford, CT factory which was located on Capital Avenue. The last manufacturer, after Pope, was the Typewriter Improvement Company of Boston, MA.
Export versions of the World were rebranded with names like Machine Express and Boston.
See an original 1887 1/2-page flyer for a World No.1 and its various type styles options here...
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