Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | November 5, 2017

Artifact of the Week – HALL TYPEWRITER, ca. 1887

Hall Typewriter Co., No. 5699, Salem Mass, Patented March 1881.

The index typewriter was introduced in 1881 by Hall in NYC.  Six years later the company introduced this model.  It primarily differs from the first typewriter with the addition of a carriage release handle and the bell attached to the right margin stop.

For a time the index typewriter was viewed as a less costly alternative to the keyboard typewriter.  Instead of assigning individual keys for each letter, a sliding shuttle holding 81 characters was used to select and print each letter one at a time.

By 1900 the price of the keyboard typewriter had dropped significantly in price, edging the index typewriter out of the market.

The firm subsequently moved to Boston.

scan0008This index typewriter was used by William Mack at his Express Roller Mills, in Cornwall.

scan0012The typewriter was donated to the Museum in 1956.

scan0013William Mack’s Express Roller Mills, East End Cornwall (next to the Dundas Mill on the right.)


scan0018If you would like to learn more about the Mack family, and Cornwall’s first lady, Mary Mack, her biography is available at the Cornwall Community Museum for $15.

scan0018The museum is open 11 am to 4 pm, Wed. to Sun.

Info:  613 936-0280

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