Mark Twain's complicated relationship with the typewriter



This is a story about was by then on his way to becoming the world's most famous writer in humorous Huck Finn Tom Sawyer at the same time the tools of writing were undergoing a profound transformation from fountain pens with their leaking and smudging inc the pleasant sound of tapping a key whose corresponding letter was magically stamped to paper this new technology did not emerge with the speed the tweet according to an IBM history of the typewriter one of the first American attempts at producing such machine looked very much like a book Tour's block and unfortunately performed with about the same delicacy Christopher Leith scholes who was ultimately the first American L. D. typewriter like the ones we no longer use today was stymied early on when the only key could get to work was W but by eighteen seventy one when twain laid eyes on Remington in a Boston store the machines were somewhat reliable at least according to salesman twain and a friend were given a demonstration twain later recalled the salesman explained to us showed examples of its work and set it could do fifty seven words a minute a statement which we frankly confessed we did not believe so he put his type girl to work and we timed her by the watch she actually did the fifty seven sixty seconds we were partly convinced but said it probably couldn't happen again it did we time the girl over and over again with the same result always she won out twain asked for a price one hundred and twenty five dollars he was told it's like twenty five hundred bucks today he bought it on the spot Twain recognized its utility as a writing tool almost immediately in a letter typed to his brother that contained some what infrequent punctuation Twain wrote the machine has several virtues I believe it will print faster than I can write one may Lee back in his chair and work it it piles an awful stack of words on one page it don't must things or scatter inc lots around of course it saves paper but Twain fell out of love with me after a year or two I found that was degrading my character twain leader wrote via dictation in his autobiography instead of virtues he found the machine to be full of caprices full of defects devilish ones Twain gave his machine to his Rider Pal William Dean House Twain said ah without the typewriter in his life my morals began to improve it's worth noting here that Twain was a bit of a fibber even when telling stories intended to be true anyway Twain said House sent the machine back to him after just six months even away twice after that point said but it wouldn't stay twain tried to figure out who to unloaded on next he settled mkx train coachman who said was very grateful because he did not know the animal and I was trying to make him wiser and better as Twain told the coachman eventually traded it to heretic twain with ultimately come back to the typewriter he's eighteen eighty three book life on the Mississippi was the first literary work to be completed on the sheen according to scholars still twain thoughts about typewriters remained some of his most quoted lines especially a letter he appeared we sent Remington asking the company to cease and desist from using his name has an endorsement please do not use my name in any way twain wrote I don't want people to know I own this curiosity breeding little joker

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