There were many advantages to the Second Industrial Revolution. Unlike the First Industrial Revolution, it extended beyond just the production of textiles. The Second Revolution produced some of today’s necessities like automobiles, bicycles, the electric motor, rubber and the washing machine. All of which have impacted the world in some way. The typewriter had the most profound impact around the globe because it was the first step towards an efficient way of communication around the world.
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This innovative, time saving machine was first thought of by Henry Mill in 1714 in an effort to make counterfeiting more difficult. His effort was not successful, and his invention did not thrive, but he did spark a wave of new developments. In July of 1829, William Austin Burt received a patent with full exclusive rights for 14 years, for his invention of the typographer “ the first practical typewriting machine in America. His invention made writing easier to read since all letters were the same size and legible. Fourteen years later, an Italian man by the name of Giuseppe Ravizza made a way for users to see what they were typing as they were typing it. This was a huge enhancement for the typewriter but not big enough to be commercialized.
The Hansen Writing Ball was the first version of a typewriter to be sold commercially in 1865. The Hansen Ball consisted of half of a sphere with the original 52 keys sticking out the top rather than the bulky, rectangular contraption that was previously known as the typewriter. The ball had glory for all of two years until Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glidden introduced the first commercially successful typewriter – the Sholes and Glidden Typewriter. This typewriter brought back the previous bulky and rectangular form. It was also the first typewriter to incorporate the QWERTY keyboard which was later adopted by future typewriting companies. Fast forward to 1912, the typewriter received a significant enhancement: the shift key. It automatically shifted the typebar which allowed for two sets of characters.
This addition to the keyboard cut the size of the typebar in half. Five years later, Wellington Parker Kidder developed the noiseless design. It promised a typewriter with no click sounds as you hit each key. This development was beneficial for offices and various other workplaces. All of these versions progressively lead up to the most profound version of the typewriter: the electric typewriter. Electric typewriters contained a single, small motor which removed the direct manual connection between hitting keys and the element that struck the paper. The electric typewriter was upgraded to selectric in 1970. It was faster, relatively quiet, more reliable and jam free. The final development of electric typewriters were introduced in 1981. The consisted of LCD displays, built-in editors in ROM, spell and grammar check, a few kilobytes of internal RAM, external memory storage devices for storing text and even document formats. Text could be entered by line or paragraph and edited by using the screen before being printed on paper. This final development is the early form of one of the most accessible electronics utilized today: the computer or laptop.
The perfection of the typewriter generated a way for people to create physical, printed documents. It allowed for uniformity because before people depended on their own handwriting which varies tremendously. With the typewriter, everything is perfectly spaced, rounded and dotted. Today’s typewriters (laptops) are compact and portable. They offer the same components as a desktop computer. A significant enhancement for today’s typewriters is the internet and World Wide Web. The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. In 1983, researchers began to assemble the ‘network of networks” that became the modern Internet. The online world then took on a more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (WWW). Most people find the World Wide Web and the Internet synonymous when in fact, the Web is simply a host of data and websites compiled into one place which can be accessed by using the Internet. The use of the WWW through laptops gives access to data, people and opportunities that could otherwise go missed. It allows people to stay in touch, conduct business and keep up with everyday necessities.
All in all, there are various inventions of the Second Industrial Revolution that could be labeled profound. Those inventions do not equate to the convenience and accessibility of the modern day typewriter. Because of this invention, writing, a previously laborious task, was made immensely easier. The typewriter also benefited countless businessmen, researchers, and professionals. It brought convenience and productivity to people everywhere. Even more important was its impact on businesses and society. Companies have grown and strengthened in unparalleled ways because of this newfound speed in writing. The typewriter rapidly became the driving force in nearly every company’s growth and is still the main source of production in the writing industry today. Not only did they improve everyday life and increase workflow, typewriters created many new opportunities for women in the 1800s. The typewriter’s ever-growing popularity led to women being granted new opportunities to enter the workforce. Women were allowed opportunities for clerical work, which usually provided higher pay in better working conditions. The typewriter brought speed to writers, productivity to offices, and convenience to workers. It brought jobs to women, letters to friends, and computers to people.
Kenner, Rob. “Development of the Typewriter.” A Brief History of Typewriters. Accessed November 04, 2018. http://site.xavier.edu/polt/typewriters/tw-history.html..
“Who Invented the Internet?” History.com. Accessed November 04, 2018. https://www.history.com/news/who-invented-the-internet.
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