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Remington and Sons, a firm known for its guns, sewing machines, and agricultural implements, marketed the first practical typewriter, the Sholes & Glidden or Remington No. 1, in 1874.  In order to rectify the drawback of frequent jamming, inventor Christopher Latham Sholes rearranged the keyboard so that commonly paired letters were spaced apart to give one type bar (holding a letter) more time to fall back from the paper before the next type bar reached it.  This arrangement (called QWERTY after the first six letters on the top row of letters) is still used on keyboards today even though it is no longer technically necessary.  Until a shift key was added to the Remington No. 2 in 1878, all typewriters printed only capital letters.  The Remington was soon rivaled by double-keyboard typewriters with separate keys for capital and small letters, but after several years the shift-key model triumphed.

In 1886, Remington and Sons sold its typewriting business, including the use of the Remington name, to the Standard Typewriter Manufacturing Company.  The July 17, 1886 issue of Harper’s Weekly published an advertisement for the new owner’s Remington Standard Typewriter, which continued the previous owner’s numbering of models with No. 3.  The firm changed its name in 1902 to the Remington Typewriter Company.

In the wake of the Spanish-American War of 1898, Remington featured a U.S. naval vessel cutting through the ocean in a full-page ad promoting the typewriter’s speed—“FASTER THAN EVER,”—its increased sales in 1898 and 1899, and its dominance of the “writing-machine” market.  With the following year ushering in a new century, an attention-grabbing half-page ad depicted Columbia pointing out a major change in communication technology over the past 100 years:  “The Nineteenth Century Inherited The Quill Pen But Bequeaths To Its Successor The Improved Remington Typewriter.”  A full-page ad in the March 4, 1905 issue emphasized the company’s patriotic and expansionist marketing themes by picturing two eagles carrying Remington typewriters—“Made In America”—to “the uttermost corners of the earth.”

Harper's Weekly References
1) July 17, 1886, p. 464, col. 3-4
illustrated ad, Remington Standard typewriter

2) September 30, 1899, p. 985, col. 1-4
full-page illustrated ad, Remington typewriter

3) December 8, 1900, p. 1195, col. 1-4
half-page illustrated ad, Remington typewriter

4) March 4, 1905, p. 317, col. 1-4
full-page illustrated ad, Remington typewriter

Sources Consulted

Gu, Charles.  “Typewriter History at a Glance”

O’Shea, John Pace.  “Early Typewriter History,”

Polt, Richard. “A Brief History of Typewriters”

“Typewriters—From the Idea to a Standard.” Heinz Nixdorf Museum.
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