Typewriter Topics 1923 Historical Number

A Condensed History of the Writing Machine

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1. Bibliographical Notes

The October, 1923 issue of the trade journal Typewriter Topics (Vol. 55, No. 2) was a special historical number devoted to the history of the typwriter. It was at least 194 pages, and included numerous advertisements as well as a comprehensive history of many machines which even then were obscure. The title of the long article itself (which constituted the bulk of the magazine) was "A Condensed History of the Writing Machine: The Romance of Earlier Effort and the Realities of Present Day Accomplishments." It was "compiled in celebration of the semi-centennial of the founding of the typewriter industry." That is, this "50th Anniversary Historical Number" was put out for the (approximate) 50th anniversary of the industry, not the magazine itself.

It was reprinted in the same year as a book (shorn of the original ads in the magazine) under the title The Typewriter: History & Encyclopedia. (NY and London: Business Equipment Publishing Co., 1923). 114 pp. While it made sense at the time to omit the advertisements which had been present in the magazine, the modern enthusiast will regret this omission.

It was reprinted by Dan R. Post under the title Collector's Guide to Antique Typewriters. (Arcadia, CA: Post-Era Books, 1981.) ISBN: 911160-86-8. Post's reprint contained an additional Foreword and also numerous advertisements reprinted from other contemporary magazines (that is, the reprinted ads in it are not those of the original Typewriter Topics October 1923 number).

Post's edition is in copyright. I believe that his stock was bought out by Ernie Jorgensen of Office Machines Americana: http://www.officemachinemanuals.com They still (2013, at I write this) offer it as a "New Book" at a reasonable price. I don't know if this is a new printing or new-old-stock. (Even though it is a history, you can find it in the "Operating Manuals" section of their website.) It's worth getting this Post edition as a standard reference even if you have the originals.

The 1923 book (not the 1981 Post reprint) was reprinted in Sept. 2000 by Dover Publications under the title The Typewriter: An Illustrated History. ISBN-10: 0-486-1237-7. 128pp. As I write this in 2013 this book appears to be out of print. New-old-stock copies are going for $114 to $184, with used copies starting at $36 (which is still over twice what Office Machines Americana asks for a new copy of the Post edition).

2. Online Reprints

[click image to read at The Internet Archive]

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Typewriter Topics (Oct. 1923)

Typewriter Topics (Vol. 55, No. 2 (October, 1923), containing "A Condensed History of the Writing Machine: The Romance of Earlier Effort and the Realities of Present Day Accomplishments."

This is a fairly high-quality scan of a very low-quality old photocopy of this issue of the magazine. The image quality of the photocopy is terrible. There's nothing I can do about this - this is the only copy I have. It is, I believe, worth reprinting despite this because of its historical interest.

The icon at left links to a presentation of this reprint at The Internet Archive, where it may be read online conveniently. This version has an effective resolution of 300 dpi RGB and a JPEG "quality" level of 75. Here is a local copy of the PDF (332 Megabytes): typewriter-topics-v55-n2-1923-october-from-photocopy-0300dpijpg-q75.pdf

A version done at my original scanning resolution of 600dpi RGB is of higher quality, but the photocopy is so bad in the first place that it probably makes no difference. It's also substantially larger (about 2 Gigabytes). Here it is, divided into four sections of about 500 Megabytes each:

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