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No. 5 Underwood Standard Manual Typewriter

This typewriter was used somewhere in the Strathroy-Caradoc area. It was gifted to the museum by the Salvation Army. The typewriter has a black base with gold details and lettering.

Underwood was the most successful version of the typewriter ever invented. It was created before 1900 and was popular until around 1961 with the introduction of the IMB Selectric (an electric typewriter). Most other companies modeled their typewriters after Underwood’s. This particular one is a No. 5 Underwood, a standard typewriter. They were made alongside No 3 and No 4 from late 1900 until 1931-1932. This particular No 5 model was made sometime in 1913. Underwood typewriters used a ribbon for ink instead of a pad which was easier, created less mess and had to be changed less frequently. Underwood had actually been a type ribbon and carbo paper (used to make copies before the invention of the photocopy machine) manufacturer before making typewriters.

The reason the keys on the keyboard are arranged the way they are goes back to the days of the typewriter. The goal was speed and efficiency- to type as many words in as little time as possible. The keyboard keys were originally arranged to maximize how fast one could type. There were several different arrangement ideas given but in the end one known as QWERTY won out. To further maximize efficiency every so often someone tries to come up with a new keyboard arrangement that is better than QWERTY but none so far have taken its place. This is the name of the keyboard type that is still used today. This model is slightly varied depending on the country and language used.

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