CASPER’S TYPEWRITERIt takes all sorts to design typewriters. Take Casper Lavater Redfield, for example.
Given that Redfield, between 1903-1921, wrote four books on evolution and heredity, one might imagine that was his real area of expertise.
But no. Redfield was a mechanical, not biological, engineer. And he was an avid inventor, with some 60 patents to his name.
Earlier in his working life, Redfield was a machinist, draftsman and designer for the National Machine Company of Ohio. His main trust during that time was in nut and bolt-making machines, automatic steam engines and power plants, and sawmill machinery.
He seems to have devoted much of the latter part of his life to research and writing, and published Control of Heredity in 1903, Dynamic Evolution in 1914, Great Men and How They Are Produced in 1915, and Human Heredity in 1921.
Casper Lavater Redfield was born in Harrington Township, Bergen, New Jersey, on November 22, 1853, and died in Chicago on December 15, 1943, three weeks after his 90th birthday.
In 1890 he came up with an idea for a typewriter, and his patent for it was issued on this day in 1892. Redfield assigned the design to the Chicago Matrix Machine Company.
In his application, Redfield stated he had invented “certain new and useful improvements in variable fed for typewriting machines … My invention relates to devices for varying the feed of typewriters proportionately to the difference in the space required by the various characters imprinted.
“The primary object of this invention is the preparation of suitable copy for reproducing the same printed matter by the operation of a matrix-machine, the matrix to show the matter properly justified and each character occupying the proper proportionate space.”
Redfield had already been issued with seven patents relating to matrix-making machines and matrices between 1889-1892, all assigned to the same Chicago company. Later in life, he was patent such things as a telephone exchange (1916), an oil well heater (1925) and an air circulating and cleaning machine (1932).