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Louis Waynai with Typewriter




Made by Louis Waynai

Los Angeles, California, US


As opposed to a traditional keyboard typewriter, to use the writing machine seen here, the user would select a desired character from an index. So, yes, the machine seen here would fall under the umbrella of index typewriters. Moreover it was (is?) the world's largest functional index typewriter. No, there was never a patent applied for it and, no, it never went into mass production and, yes, this whole page is a little tongue-in-cheek (kind of).

The typewriter was an invention of necessity for Hungarian-born immigrant Louis Waynai (1878 - 1968). Sometime in 1926 Louis had decided he would print, by hand, the world's largest copy of the complete King James Bible. For this he required a machine that hadn't yet existed. So, Louis, a carpenter by trade, built the Waynai Biblewriter (as I like to call it). It took two years to build and, on December 2, 1928, the biblewriter was put into service.

The biblewriter utilized a large, round index with homemade 1/2" by 2" rubber stamps affixed around the perimeter. The biblewriter had a carriage which glided freely so it was operated completely manually. A platen and rollers fed through the massive sheets of paper. When a desired character was selected, a pedal that was attached to the index would lower that index to the platen and print the character to the paper. A moistened, hand-held pad was used to manually deliver the ink for almost every impression.   

Louis Waynai and World's Largest Bible

With his wife's help, after 8,700 total hours and at the reported expense of about $10,000, The Bible was completed on December 1, 1930. It weighed 1,094 pounds and had 8,048 pages. It was 3'7" tall, 8'2" wide when opened and 2'10" thick when closed. So it could be effortlessly transported, the book was bound in 31 easily detachable sections which require about a 1/2 hour to take apart or put together. The Bible is currently on exhibit in Washington, D.C. until 2017.


Louis Waynai, a self ordained minister, thought The King James Bible would yield its secrets to him while in the process of completing his project. I'm doubtful if it did. 


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