1886 - 1893

World Type Writer Co.

Portland, Maine, US

The World was a very simple index typewriter. It was developed by noted inventor/manufacturer John Becker, of Boston, Massachusetts, 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.

At about 3lbs and 1/10 the cost of some typewriters, The World's makers marketed it 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 further claims that a skilled user could produce as much as 80 words per minute with a "one-handed" World typewriter. Personally, I doubt it.

The World was produced by several manufacturers. Initially it was the World Type-Writer Company of Portland, Maine. Then Pope Manufacturing of Boston, Massachusetts took over and produced some of the Worlds out of its Hartford, Connecticut factory on Capital Avenue. The last manufacturer, after Pope, was the Typewriter Improvement Company of Boston, Massachusetts.

All World Typewriters were sold by agents of George Becker & Company of New York. Luckily there were a fair amount of these made so they are still pretty easy to find at a reasonable price. Export models were rebranded with the names Machine Express and Boston.


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The World

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.