Friday at the convention

by | Aug 9, 2014 | convention | 14 comments

On Friday at the collectors’ convention, we went to the Milwaukee Public Museum for presentations on the industrial history of the city (Jeff Vanevenhoven), the typewriter insurgency (me), and the history of typewriters and women (Peter Weil) …
… and we also got to gawk at a small selection of the museum’s amazing typewriter collection.
Early Sholes experimental model (big—these are real piano keys):
The Harr, a complex and delicate index typewriter. Only example known. Type is located on tiny upward-swinging typebars.
Jones Mechanical Typographer. First factory-produced typewriter, 1852. (More on Jones.)
My personal favorite: the Nickerson, a very complex vertical-platen machine.
But this is the most impressive piece of antique technology in Milwaukee, and it’s still in use:
Onward we proceeded to Forest Home Cemetery and the grave of Christopher Latham Sholes, marked with a monument erected some time after his death (1923?):
Many of us, including me, took selfies with our buddy Chris.
And to top off a good day, I added a little something to my collection …


  1. schrijfmachine

    The Nickerson would be my favorite too. Nice pictures. Congrats on the Polygraph! That's a neat machine. Didn't they come with a decal?

  2. Scott K

    Ha ha ha. Love the selfie.
    I saw a few photos of these machines on Alan's Facebook page. Looks like you guys are having a blast. Great to see!

  3. Bill M

    Quite an impressive array of neat on typewriters. I'm sure you hare having a great time. The Jones typewriter reminds me of an industrial label maker we used to use in the shop. It would be neat to see a page typed on the Nickerson.

    I wonder how many pay phones still exist and if the phone company or one of the undependable private companies maintain them.

  4. Unknown

    Nice update, Richard! I've been to Richard M's place too – I left with three machines :-) that Streamliner was a hard one to pass up, too, but there was only so much I could take with me on my flight home.
    Maumee, Ohio (near Toledo) has a big antiques mall with a lot of machines. There was a dark grey Hermes Baby, a Visograph, and many more, at least last time I stopped in there.

    Safe travels. See ya at Herman's place! :-)

  5. Ton S.

    I join the Nickerson chorus, wow. Did anyone record your Insurgency presentation?

  6. Richard P

    You are correct. I may get a new one from Paul Robert.

  7. Richard P

    I think Jay Williams made an audio recording.

  8. Anonymous

    I'm so jealous of you right now.

  9. Ton S.

    Hope he can make it available to the Typosphere.

  10. Ted

    ooh, you have pics of some of the museums' machines! I don't suppose you got the serial numbers so you can post them as "sightings" in the Typewriter Database? :D

  11. shordzi

    Fantastic! Looking forward to your next report. Thanks a lot!

  12. Richard P

    Good idea — except many of these were experimental prototypes and I don't think they'd have serial numbers. Do you want to open up TWDB to typewriters never serially produced?

  13. Typewriter King

    An Electri-Conomy with an Old-English typeface!! I never woould have thought. And it's still useable too!! Having worked on Remington Electric upright typewriters, I have to ask: Where's he gettin' his parts? You gotta have alot of parts when you're keepin' an Electri-Conomy going'. Does he take it to a shop that still repairs typewriters, or does he do the work himself?


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