Underwood 1 typewriter, 10" Pica, No.990, 1897. This was the first typewriter with a writing area facing the user and type bars that stay out of sight until a key is struck. These features, shared by all subsequent typewriters, made it easy for the typist to see and if necessary correct the typing as it proceeded. The mechanism was developed in the USA by Franz X. Wagner from about 1892 and taken up, in 1895, by John T. Underwood (1857-1937), a producer of office supplies. The Underwood had a light touch and was also the first machine with a tabulator to facilitate neat columns.
The Underwood family, a successful manufacturer of ribbons and carbon paper, entry into the world of typewriters began with supplying ribbons to the Remington Typewriter Company. When Remington began producing their own ribbons, Underwood bought the patent and manufacturing rights of German-American inventor Franz Wagner and his “Wagner” typewriter and Wagner designed the Underwood 1 Typewriter, also known as the Underwood Model One typewriter, the first of many typewriters sold by Underwood Typewriters.
By the early 1900s, Underwood had emerged as the premier typewriter design, most recognized today and most imitated at the time.