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Friday 25 January 2013

On This Day in Typewriter History: Pared to the Bone

PART 245
I find rather remarkable that as late as 1939, people were still trying to market a cheap, basic little index typewriter, something which had been around in various forms since the 1880s. Indeed, by the late 30s, the Simplex, the outstanding example of this type of machine, and the one which outlasted all others, was on its way out. For children, tin toy typewriters designed by Sammy Berger were now all the rage. For adults, well machines like the Remette were about as basic as they wanted to get. Yet here was Fritz Wilhelm Metzger (born Karlsruhe, Germany, March 3, 1889) thinking there was an ongoing demand among both adults (businesses, indeed) and children for such pared to the bone typewriters. Metzger, of Chicago,  applied for his patent on this day (January 24) in 1938.
I cannot make head nor tail of this design.
Metzger wrote of his "invention" that it "relates to a type-writer, and especially to a type-writer which may be operated with equal facility by children as well as by adults. Devices of the kind specified are known, but they are either expensive or so complicated in operation as to make them undesirable. It is, therefore, an object of my invention to provide a compact and portable type-writer which is both simple to operate and so inexpensive that it may be used by everyone. Another object of my invention is to provide a type-writer which is simple enough for children to operate, and yet may be used in business or for printing signs, legends and the like. It is still another object of my invention to provide a type-writer in which ink is applied to the type while the device is being used. Another object of the invention is to provide a type-writer in which lettering will be produced in a straight line on a sheet of paper."

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