Although many modern typewriters have one of several similar designs, their invention was incremental, developed by numerous inventors working independently or in competition with each other over a series of decades. As with the automobile, telephone, and telegraph, a number of people contributed insights and inventions that eventually resulted in ever more commercially successful instruments. Historians have estimated that some form of typewriter was invented 52 times as thinkers tried to come up with a workable design.
In 1575 an Italian printmaker, Francesco Rampazzetto, invented the ‘scrittura tattile’, a machine to impress letters in papers.
In 1714, Henry Mill obtained a patent in Britain for a machine that, from the patent, appears to have been similar to a typewriter. The patent shows that this machine was actually created: “[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 public records, the impression being deeper and more lasting than any other writing, and not to be erased or counterfeited without manifest discovery.”
In 1802 Italian Agostino Fantoni developed a particular typewriter to enable his blind sister to write.
In 1808 Italian Pellegrino Turri invented a typewriter. He also invented carbon paper to provide the ink for his machine.
In 1823 Italian Pietro Conti di Cilavegna invented a new model of typewriter, the tachigrafo, also known as tachitipo. Read more