Hall typewriter in portable walnut case, 1881


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Hall typewriter no.5537, index type, in portable walnut case, 1881
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Hall typewriter no.5537 in portable walnut case, 1881. This is an index-type typewriter and was patented in 1881 by Thomas Hall of New York, who had been working for some years on the problem of producing a simple typewriter.

The characters project from the lower face of a square sheet of rubber which is carried on a frame free to slide horizontally in any direction, but prevented from rotation. The index is in a similar frame, above, provided with holes for each character. By a handle, carrying a key fitting these holes and connected to the lower moving frame, the desired character is placed over the printing point and then depressed. The inking is done by a saturated textile sheet, arranged between the rubber type and the paper, a mask with a single hole at the printing point preventing accidental contacts. The paper is carried on a platen cylinder, capable of rotary and longitudinal motion, and the feed is performed by an escapement, worked by the printing handle and gearing into a cylindrical rack. The line spacing is given by a separate key which moves a ratchet wheel on the paper roller.


Printing & Writing
Object Number:
Presented by Major W.[Walter] G. A. Bedford, M.B, R.A.M.C.

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