The Boston Typewriter

Patented May 18, 1886

The Boston typewriter was patented by Daniel E. Kempster in 1886 and was marketed for  a brief period in 1888.  Its most prominent features include a large curved index for character selection and the name "BOSTON" cast into a pediment reminiscent of Neoclassical Greek architecture.  Operating a Boston consisted of placing a sheet of paper on a flat bed, which moved left to right across the center portion of the typewriter, and selecting a character to be printed with the index arm .  The index arm would in turn rotate a large character wheel in the center of the typewriter to the corresponding letter on the index.   Depressing it caused the desired character to push downward and be printed, the paper carrier would then move one space allowing for the next character to be printed.  Inking was accomplished with a ribbon.  For an index typewriter, which was typically designed to be simple and inexpensive, the Boston was a complex writing machine.  It also included an elaborate mainspring mechanism to drive the flatbed as well as a bell & ringer to warn the typist of the end of a line.  It printed both upper and lower case characters.   The Boston was short lived and few have survived. 

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    Copyright © 2010 Anthony Casillo
    This Page was first created on Monday, June 10, 1996