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Saturday, 24 November 2012

On This Day in Typewriter History: The Art of Typewriter Mats

PART 184
On this day (November 23) in 1920, a Bellaire, Ohio, steel mill labourer, Thomas White Arter, applied for a patent for a typewriter mat. Is this the only typewriter mat ever patented? (Mr Arter had earlier patented a cushion for the heel of a shoe. Things must have been pretty slow in Bellaire around 1920).
Anyway, I like it. I think it would adorn the typewriter desk quite nicely - though it might clash with the tartan dust cover from Ray Nickson's Olivetti Lettera 22.
I copied the Arter mat design (above) and played around with it for a few minutes, just using some quick paint fill, nothing too detailed or time-consuming. Here is the result:
Then I printed it off on some canvas, glued it to a bit of cardboard, put a typewriter on it, and, hey presto ...
If anyone would like to try the same thing, I'd be happy to give a $40 typewriter necktie prize to the best effort.



Richard P said...

How cute! Arter would be tickled.

I'm surprised you can get a patent for a simple design like thatcould

Robert Messenger said...

Yes, I agree, but I imagine that if you pay your patent attorney and your application fee, you can patent almost anything! Hard to see a steel mill worker sitting down and drawing pretty mats, though (or is that jobism?).

maschinengeschrieben said...

So is it only the pattern on the mat which is patented? No sound-dampening, typo-lessing features underneath?

Robert Messenger said...

No, just the pattern. The specifications are the shortest I have ever seen. Just "I have invented a new, original and ornamental design for a typewriter mat .. the figure is a plan view of the typewriter mat showing my new design". He did "invent" a cushion for the heels of shoes, though.

Scott K said...

Well, commercial dressing is a viable patent, but it is usually covered more effectively under copyright these days. Was there some kind of flaw in the copyright system back then which would see this option as being the superior option?

I might take you up on the typewriter mat challenge too! Are we working of this design specifically?

shordzi said...

What a funny typewriter you put on top. I like this little carpet of yours.

Robert Messenger said...

Thanks Georg, neat little typewriter, isn't it?
Hi Scott. Yes, I think to be fair to everyone we should stick with Tom Arter's art.