Antique Typewriters

The Martin Howard Collection




Stenograph 1 - first form

Stenograph 1 - first form


United States Stenograph Co., St. Louis, Missouri
1882 - serial no.72 - view patent

The Stenograph was invented by Miles Bartholomew, a newspaper reporter, who patented his invention in 1879. His Stenograph was the first mechanical printing machine for shorthand.

The model shown here is one of only three known examples (along with serial no. 55 and 79) of the first manufactured design form of the Bartholomew Stenograph. It is distinguished by being mounted on a beautiful wooden base, with later models having a cast iron frame.

"A Machine for writing shorthand", this machine would do that but there was a lot to learn. Bartholomew would create a new 'alphabet' for his machine that was based on a five sequence binary code of dashes and spaces that was printed on a narrow strip of paper. The simplifying of the shorthand characters would enable both hands to operate the keyboard, allowing for great speed, as the hands worked together like two drumsticks. The keyboard has eight round keys, four for the left hand and four for the right hand. The square key protruding out front is the fifth key that is shared by both hands. The long curved key in back gives a space.

The other important aspect of this revolutionary machine is that the operator's hands do not travel across the page when taking dictation but maintain a constant position above their set of keys with the paper moving instead. This is similar to having ones fingers above the Home Row when typing.

The trade card (both sides shown below) is the only one known. The strip of paper, showing actual writing from this Stenograph, miraculously stayed with this machine all these years and is also shown below. It will be one of the earliest examples of mechanical stenographic writing known.

This machine originally sold for $40.


Detailed Typewriter Image


Stenograph 1 - first form Stenograph 1 - first form Stenograph 1 - first form Stenograph 1 - first form

Period Advertisement


Stenograph 1 - first form Stenograph 1 - first form Stenograph 1 - first form

Typewriter Letterhead


Stenograph 1 - first form Stenograph 1 - first form