Early TypewritersAlfred Ely Beach made a sort of typewriter as early as 1847, but he neglected it for other things. His typewriter had many of the features of the modern typewriter, however, it lacked a satisfactory method of inking the types. In 1857, S. W. Francis of New York invented a typewriter with a ribbon that was saturated with ink. Neither of these typewriters were a commercial success. They were regarded merely as the toys of ingenious men.
Christopher Latham SholesThe accredited father of the typewriter was Wisconsin newspaperman, Christopher Latham Sholes. After his printers went on strike, Sholes made a few unsuccessful attempts to invent a typesetting machine. He then, in collaboration with another printer, Samuel Soule, invented a numbering machine. A friend, Carlos Glidden saw this ingenious device and suggested that they should try to invent a machine that print letters.
The three men, Sholes, Soule, and Glidden agreed to try to invent such a machine. None of them had studied the efforts of previous experimenters, and they made many errors which might have been avoided. Gradually, however, the invention took form and the inventors were granted patents in June and July of 1868. However, their typewriter was easily broken and made mistakes. Investor, James Densmore bought a share in the machine buying out Soule and Glidden. Densmore furnished the funds to build about thirty models in succession, each a little better than the preceding. The improved machine was patented in 1871, and the partners felt that they were ready to begin manufacturing.