Shorthand or stenography, the method of
writing quickly by using abbreviations, strokes, or symbols, dates
back centuries. A few
shorthand machines were constructed in the nineteenth century, but
the first to gain a measure of popularity among court reporters
was the Stenograph. Miles
Bartholomew, a court reporter from East St. Louis, Illinois,
invented the device in 1877, three years after the introduction of
Remington’s first typewriter.
The stenograph had ten keys that printed a code of dashes
in different positions (standing for different letters) on a
3/8-inch strip of paper. He received patents from improved models in 1879 and 1884,
which were manufactured by his company, the United States
Stenograph Corporation. An
advertisement for his machine appeared in the December
15, 1883 issue of Harper’s Weekly.
Despite making some inroads into the court-reporting
market, the Stenograph was not generally accepted and
Bartholomew’s company folded.
In 1889, George Kerr Anderson received a
patent for a shorthand typewriter with fourteen keys using English
letters instead of code. Several
keys could be pressed simultaneously in order to print entire
syllables or words at once (called the chording method of typing).
An illustrated ad
for Anderson’s Shorthand
Typewriter was published in the October 1, 1892 issue.
Although the machine gained some attention for reporting
the inaugural of President William McKinley in March 1897, the
company soon went bankrupt.
15, 1883, p. 807, col. 2
illustrated ad, Stenograph
1, 1892, p. 951, col. 3
illustrated ad, Anderson Shorthand Typewriter