Today in 1829, William Austin Burt, a surveyor from Mount Vernon, Michigan, received a patent for the typographer, the earliest forerunner of the typewriter. Fifty years ago this month (July 31), IBM introduced the IBM Selectric, replacing typebars and the moving carriage with a spherical printing element.
In 2006, a Boston Globe article described the fate of typewriters today: “When Richard Polt, a professor of philosophy at Xavier University, brings his portable Remington #7 to his local coffee shop to mark papers, he inevitably draws a crowd. ‘It’s a real novelty,’ Polt said. ‘Some of them have never seen a typewriter before … they ask me where the screen is or the mouse or the delete key.’”