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Blickensderfer Typewriter No. 5
Blickensderfer Typewriter No. 5
Resource Typeimage
TitleBlickensderfer Typewriter No. 5
Coverage / Year1889 to 1893
DescriptionA portable manual typewriter (in original carrying case), 'Blickensderfer No. 5 Stamford Conn. U.S.A.' Ideal keyboard, with type-wheel, black keys with white letters. No. 58627.
InterpretationGeorge C. Blickensderfer (1851-1917) built the prototype for the first lightweight portable typewriter, the Blickensderfer No.5, in 1889. The first commercial model of the No. 5 was produced in his factory in Stamford, Connecticut in 1893. That same year, the typewriter made its public debut at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A practical machine of proven durability, the Blickensderfer No.5 was sold and used in countries all over the world. 'Blicks, ' the name by which the machines came to be known, had interchangeable type-wheels. Over one hundred different keyboards were available. This interchangeable type-wheel accounted for a major part of the Blickensderfer's popularity in so many countries. Blickensderfer's first portable machine used the Ideal keyboard, but later changed to the more popular Qwerty layout. The Ideal keyboard was laid out in following fashion. The top row read: Z, X, K, G, B, V, Q, J; the middle row read: P, W, F, U, L, C, M, Y; and the bottom row read: D, H, I, A, T, E, N, O, R. This keyboard design failed commercially, so Blickensderfer changed his typewriters to the more popular Qwerty keyboard. Contemporary typewriters and computer keyboards still use the Qwerty key configuration. The name Qwerty is derived from the first six letters in the top alphabet row on the keyboard. Christopher Sholes (1819-1890) designed the Qwerty system in 1868. Sholes' original typewriter keyboards were arranged alphabetically. The flaws in this keyboard layout became obvious as adept typists would jam the keys when these keys were struck in quick succession. So after much experimentation, Sholes placed the keys used most often as far apart as he could.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities; Exploring The Columbian Exposition
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorBlickensderfer, George C., 1851-1917; Blickensderfer Manufacturing Company
SourceBeeching, Wilfred A. Century of the Typewriter. Dorset, England: British Typewriter Museum Publishing, 1974. Edward De Bono,. Eureka! An Illustrated History of Inventions From the Wheel to the Computer. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974.
Subject / KeywordsTypewriters; World's Fair; Columbian Exposition; Stamford, Connecticut;
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier32.389
CONTENTdm file name8901181982002_TYPEWRIT.jpg
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