M976.141 | Typewriter

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Smith Premier Typewriter Co.
1895-1910, 19th century or 20th century
24.5 x 36.8 x 26.8 cm
Gift of Miss Gwyneth Bedford-Jones
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Typewriter (2)
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Keys to History

The commercial typewriter was first advertised for sale in early 1874. Over time, the typewriter transformed the way business was conducted.

The early typewriter was not immediately successful due to slow economic conditions in North America and imperfections in the machine itself. Perhaps more significantly, people were uneasy about the idea of "mechanical writing"; it was the custom to write and receive letters, both personal and business, written in longhand.

In the 1880s, with the development of the concept of management, work became more specialized - some people prepared correspondence, others kept accounts. In this new environment, the typewriter found acceptance. Businesses were growing larger and more impersonal, and the old rules of etiquette for business letters were being ushered out.

  • What

    The typewriter allows the operator to produce writing resembling printer's type and to finish a page at much greater speed than with a pen.

  • Where

    This typewriter was used in Montreal by Miss Gwyneth Bedford-Jones.

  • When

    This Model No. 4 typewriter was made in 1900 by the Smith Company of Syracuse, New York.

  • Who

    This Smith Model No. 4 typewriter might have been sold in Montreal by Wm. M. Hall & Co., listed as agents for the Smith company in "Lovell's Montreal Directory of 1901-02".