Jobs for the girls…

Remington_No._1_typewriter_LIFE_Photo_ArchiveAn extract from the ever fascinating  A Thousand Ways to Earn a Living (1888)

Type –Writing.

‘This is undoubtably one of the most promising occupations for women of which we are able to speak. The type-writer, we may mention for the benefit of those who may not have had the opportunity of seeing it in work, is a small machine for the rapid writing of letters or other documents operated by a keyboard. In the United States there are between sixty and seventy thousand type-writers. In London, the machines are being brought into use in all kinds of offices, and there can be little doubt but that they will speedily become universal. Authors dictate their books to type-writers, legal papers are copied by them, and business correspondence of every description transacted with them. It is an employment particularly well suited to well educated girls. To acquire a really useful knowledge of type-writing would take from six to eight months. The largest school in London is that of Madame Monchablon, 26, Austin Friars E.C. who charges 2 guineas until perfect. The machine usually adopted is the No. 2 “ Standard” Remington . In about 6 months a speed of 50 words a minute is attained, and this can be increased to 80, and in phenomenal cases to 100. We are informed on the best authority that appointments can always be obtained for skilled operators. ‘

Apparently, according to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary the word typist in relation to someone who operated a typewriter, was coined in 1885, which begs the question as to why it was not used in A Thousand Ways .

I wonder who the first author was to produce a book in typescript. Any ideas out there in Jotland ?  [R.M.Healey]


3 thoughts on “Jobs for the girls…

  1. Coby

    For what it’s worth, I found the following:

    “1904 – Clemens writes in his ‘Unpublished Autobiography’ that he believes ‘Tom Sawyer’ was probably his first typewritten novel, dictated to a typist sometime during 1874.”

    From the same source:
    “1883 – ‘Life on the Mississippi’ is submitted as a typewritten manuscript. Clemens did not actually type it himself, however. He dictated it based on a hand-written original draft.”

  2. Jot 101 Post author

    Many thanks Coby. 1874 is now the marker. Any advance on that? Since 1874 is when they were first sold it seems unlikely There was an earlier machine called a ‘typographer’ but since it was slower than actually writing it is doubtful may books were written on it.

  3. R.M.Healey

    I agree that the date 1874 seems way too early for a typed document.I seem to recall that the earliest example of typing I have seen dated from the early 1880s. Incidentally, the typeface used in these late 19th century documents is much larger than those in use a hundred years later.


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