A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical machine for writing characters similar to those produced by printer's movable type. Typically, a typewriter has an array of keys, and pressing one causes a different single character to be produced on the paper, by causing a ribbon with dried ink to be struck against the paper by a type element similar to the sorts used in movable type letterpress printing. Commonly a separate type element (called a typebar) corresponds to each key, but the mechanism may also use a single type element (such as a typeball) with a different portion of it used for each possible character. At the end of the nineteenth century, the term typewriter was also applied to a person who used a typing machine.
The first commercial typewriters were introduced in 1874, but did not become common in offices until after the mid-1880s. The typewriter quickly became an indispensable tool for practically all writing other than personal handwritten correspondence. It was widely used by professional writers, in offices, and for business correspondence in private homes.
Notable typewriter manufacturers included E. Remington and Sons, IBM, Imperial Typewriters, Oliver Typewriter Company, Olivetti, Royal Typewriter Company, Smith Corona, Underwood Typewriter Company, Adler Typewriter Company and Olympia Werke.
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