history of the typewriter

A Fragmented History of Typewriting
by Darren Wershler-Henry

There’s a current vogue for histories of various objects of arcana, but Darren Wershler-Henry takes the genre a step further with a book that is not actually a history of the typewriter – books of that sort apparently already exist in plentiful supply – but rather a kind of semiotics of typewriting itself, within the context of the past 150-odd years of Western culture.

As the title confesses, this is indeed a fragmentary history. Wershler-Henry’s scope is wide-ranging and largely unfettered by chronology. He looks at the typewriter’s mechanical precursors, the current rage for typewriter nostalgia, the debate over the origin of the QWERTY keyboard, and the provenance of the phenomenon known as the “Type-Writer Girl.” Read more…