History Center Collection

Sholes Glidden
Sholes Glidden
Remington Standard No. 8
Universal Crandal No. 3
Blickensderfer No. 5
Hammond No. 12
L.C. Smith & Bros No.5
Corona Model 3
Oliver No. 9
Portable Corona No. 4
Remington No. 7 Noiseless
Remington No. 10 Noiseless
Smith-Corona Skywriter ZY
Typing in Tompkins Online Exhibit

Sholes Glidden (1874)

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Did you ever wonder why the E was next to the W on your keyboard? Not so it would be easier to type the word ew when there was something that you did not like. It is, in fact, due to the first mass produced typewriter called the Sholes and Glidden created all the way back in 1874. The QWERTY keyboard, as it is called, was designed by Christopher Latham Sholes to put letters that are not usually typed in after another next to each other. It may seem strange that designers would try to slow typing down, but it actually created less jams in the keys while typing.

The Sholes and Glidden typewriter was manufactured by E. Remington & Sons in Ilion, NY, about two hours from Ithaca. Typing was originally considered women's work, and the flowers and other paintings on this typewriter reflects that attitude. It resembles more an old style sewing machine than a current computer. The original machine was even mounted on a sewing machine table and used with a treadle. As men were unwilling to be seen using a domestic device, women were more likely to learn typing skills. For the first time, women had a valuable place in the office and the use of the typewriter considerably opened up the workforce.

This Sholes and Glidden originally cost around $125, and is similar to the one Mark Twain appreciated so dearly. It was donated in 1963 to the History Center by Mrs Willets Wilson of 210 West Green St, Ithaca.