Confessions of an Antique Typewriter Collector

Collecting the World’s First Typewriters

Guest Post By Martin Howard

Collecting typewriters from the 1880’s and 1890’s continues to be a great adventure for me after nearly twenty years of this somewhat esoteric hobby.

Every year I am able to add two or three typewriters to the collection and this year is off to a very good start.

My first great find of the year came in February, with an email from a person living just a few hours away from me. She had a McLoughlin Brothers Typewriter from 1884. This little typing machine was the first typewriter marketed to children, even though it was solidly built and was also intended for adults.

I picked up this typewriter within a few days, cleaned it up, and now have it displayed within my collection, a very cool typing machine indeed.

The McLoughlin Brothers Typewriter

You can read more about the McLoughlin here.

The McLoughlin Brothers Typewriter made its debut on the market in about 1884 and sold for the incredible price of $10.00, and while that’s cheap by today’s standards, then it must have seemed out of reach…especially for a kid…

The Ford Typewriter, Co.

The next addition to my collection is the Ford typewriter which I actually acquired last summer, but did not get display ready until last month.

The Ford typewriter has no connection to the Ford Automobile Company. Eugene Ford, its inventor, was a pioneering engineer who worked with Herman Hollerith in inventing the first mechanical card tabulating machine that was put to use in the 1890’s U.S. census. It reduced the time required to tabulate the collected data dramatically. In 1880 it took eight years to complete this task and in 1890, when the tabulating machine was used, it took only one year!


You can read more about the Ford typewriter here.

Mr. Ford continued to work with IBM when the Tabulating Machine Company and three other companies formed IBM in 1896 and had a distinguished career as a chief development engineer.

It is wonderful to have his beautiful typewriter in my collection.

Munson Typewriter Manufacturing Co.

The third addition to my collection this year, is the very “Steampunk” looking Munson 1. This typewriter had been on my list for quite a while, and with this one in such great condition, I acquired it as soon as I found it, and I am very pleased to now have it as part of my collection.

The Munson Typewriter Manufacturing Co. billed the Munson 1 as having set “The Highest Grade Standard” and was proud to announce to one and all through its advertising, that it had won high honors at The Columbia Exposition. It was first made in 1890, and was sold for $65.00.

You can read about the Munson typewriter here.

In this age of the digital QWERTY keyboard, these early and strange typing machines still have a connection with us today – and help us touch the past…

I invite you to visit my collection here, and remember if you happen to find an awesome or rare typewriter please contact me via my website.


Martin Howard

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