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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

On This Day in Typewriter History (XII)

(Officially the first day of winter in Australia)
Finally we get the chance to salute a famous Australian writer – indeed, even one with a New Zealand heritage. On this day in 1937, Colleen McCullough-Robinson was born in Wellington  - but Wellington, New South Wales, not Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. She turns 74 today. Her mother was a New Zealander, of part-Maori descent. McCullough spent 10 years from April 1967 researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut. It was while at Yale that her first two books were written. She now lives on Norfolk Island in the Pacific.
Her most famous work was The Thorn Birds (1977), which was made into a 1983 TV mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain. It became the United States' second-highest-rated mini-series of all time behind Roots; both series were produced by David L. Wolper.
Marilyn Monroe was born on this day in 1926, in Los Angeles. She died in Brentwood, LA, on August 5, 1962, aged just 36.

Andy Samuel Griffith was also born on this day in 1926. He turns 85 today. Griffith, who was born in Mt Airy, North Carolina, is perhaps best remembered for TV series The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, but he was also a Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and a writer.
In The Andy Griffith Show, he played Andy Taylor, sheriff and newspaper editor in Mayberry, North Carolina, and father to a then six-year-old Ron Howard, playing Opie.
On this day in 1909, inventor Harry Bates, of Albany, New York, was reissued a patent for a time-controlled, coin-operated locking device for typewriters. The patent for this unusual idea, originally granted in 1908, was re-issued so that it could be assigned to the Underwood Typewriter Company. Bates was the advertising manager at Underwood and invented several typewriter devices, which he assigned to his employers.
I have never previously heard of such of a thing, but it must have been at least a short-lived success. In the September 1912 edition of Popular Mechanics Magazine, a lead feature article on Bates said “typewriter pay stations” had been “introduced throughout the country”.
(Again, Burnham Coos Stickney is the attorney on this patent.)


Rob Bowker said...

Hi Robert. Your "on this day" series is getting to be a "must-read".

Ryan Adney said...

The pay-for-use typewriter station was just being phased out when I was an undergrad at Arizona State. I wrote a little about their use on my blog. You can read (if you like) at They must have been more popular here in the states.