January 7 in History

The typewriter is one of those devices whose need had been obvious for decades, even a century before a practical one was produced. On this date in 1714, one Henry Mill of England was awarded patent number 395 for a device whose description sounds like nothing less than a typewriter, even though that particular word had not yet been coined. The 1714 English patent reads in part:

He hath by his great study and paines & expence invented and brought to perfection an artificial machine or method for impressing or transcribing of letters, one after another, as in writing, whereby all writing whatsoever may be engrossed in paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print; that the said machine or method may be of great use in settlements and publick records, the impression being deeper and more lasting than any other writing, and not to be erased or counterfeited without manifest discovery. (Emphasis mine.)


(Patents did not need to be very scientific in their language in 1714.)

No device was produced, and no wonder: none was described. That is why the picture at the top is of some text and not of an early device design. Mill’s idea, which described a possible solution to the perceived need, is what was patented under the title Machine for Transcribing Letters, and it is now considered to be the first mention of the idea of a typewriter.

* * * *
Today is Christmas Day for millions of Eastern Orthodox Christians around the world.

* * * *
Two gunmen killed twelve people in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical publication based in Paris, then killed a police officer outside, two years ago today. Eleven others were wounded in the assault.

* * * *
Nikola Tesla died on this date in 1943. John Berryman died on this date in 1972. Bobby Hamilton died ten years ago today.

* * * *
President Millard Fillmore was born on this date in 1800. Vincent Gardenia was born in 1920 on this date. Jean-Pierre Rampal was born on this date in 1922. Rampal plays Milhaud:

Hugh Kenner was born on this date in 1923.

* * * *
William Peter Blatty is 89 today. Terry Moore is 88. Jann Wenner is 71 today. Kenny Loggins is 69. Erin Gray is 67 today. David Caruso is 61. Katie Couric is 60. Nicholson Baker is 60 today. Nicholas Cage is 53. Dustin Diamond is 40.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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2 comments

  1. loisajay · January 7

    Memories of sophomore year with Sister Luke in typing class……faster! faster! No errors!

    Like

  2. Martha Kennedy · January 7

    And I am 65. 🙂

    Like

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