Sholes, Christopher Latham

SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing
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b. 14 February 1819 Mooresburg, Pennsylvania, USA
d. 17 February 1890 USA
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American inventor of the first commercially successful typewriter.
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Sholes was born on his parents' farm, of a family that had originally come from England. After leaving school at 14, he was apprenticed for four years to the local newspaper, the Danville Intelligencer. He moved with his parents to Wisconsin, where he followed his trade as journalist and printer, within a year becoming State Printer and taking charge of the House journal of the State Legislature. When he was 20 he left home and joined his brother in Madison, Wisconsin, on the staff of the Wisconsin Enquirer. After marrying, he took the editorship of the Southport Telegraph, until he became Postmaster of Southport. His experiences as journalist and postmaster drew him into politics and, in spite of the delicate nature of his health and personality, he served with credit as State Senator and in the State Assembly. In 1860 he moved to Milwaukee, where he became Editor of the local paper until President Lincoln offered him the post of Collector of Customs at Milwaukee.
That position at last gave Sholes time to develop his undoubted inventive talents. With a machinist friend, Samuel W.Soule, he obtained a patent for a paging machine and another two years later for a machine for numbering the blank pages of a book serially. At the small machine shop where they worked, there was a third inventor, Carlos Glidden. It was Glidden who suggested to Sholes that, in view of his numbering machine, he would be well equipped to develop a letter printing machine. Glidden drew Sholes's attention to an account of a writing machine that had recently been invented in London by John Pratt, and Sholes was so seized with the idea that he devoted the rest of his life to perfecting the machine. With Glidden and Soule, he took out a patent for a typewriter on June 1868 followed by two further patents for improvements. Sholes struggled unsuccessfully for five years to exploit his invention; his two partners gave up their rights in it and finally, on 1 March 1873, Sholes himself sold his rights to the Remington Arms Company for $12,000. With their mechanical skills and equipment, Remingtons were able to perfect the Sholes typewriter and put it on the market. This, the first commercially successful typewriter, led to a revolution not only in office work, but also in work for women, although progress was slow at first. When the New York Young Women's Christian Association bought six Remingtons in 1881 to begin classes for young women, eight turned up for the first les-son; and five years later it was estimated that there were 60,000 female typists in the USA. Sholes said, "I feel that I have done something for the women who have always had to work so hard. This will more easily enable them to earn a living."
Sholes continued his work on the typewriter, giving Remingtons the benefit of his results. His last patent was granted in 1878. Never very strong, Sholes became consumptive and spent much of his remaining nine years in the vain pursuit of health.
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Bibliography
23 June 1868, US patent no. 79,265 (the first typewriter patent).
Further Reading
M.H.Adler, 1973, The Writing Machine, London: Allen \& Unwin.
LRD

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sholes, Christopher Latham — born Feb. 14, 1819, near Mooresburg, Pa., U.S. died Feb. 17, 1890, Milwaukee, Wis. U.S. inventor. His first experiments were with numbering and letter writing machines. In 1868 he was granted a patent for a typewriter with Carlos Glidden and… …   Universalium

  • Sholes, Christopher Latham — (14 feb. 1819, cerca de Mooresburg, Pa., EE.UU.–17 feb. 1890, Milwaukee, Wis.). Inventor estadounidense. Sus primeros experimentos fueron con máquinas foliadoras y para escribir cartas. En 1868 se le otorgó una patente para una máquina de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Christopher Latham Sholes — (né le 14 février 1819 à Mooresburg, mort le 17 février 1890) est l inventeur du clavier QWERTY. Natif de Pennsylvanie, aux États Unis, Sholes est apprenti chez un imprimeur de Danville, Pennsylvanie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Christopher Latham Sholes — Born February 14, 1819(1819 02 14) Mooresburg, Montour County, Pennsylvania, United States Died February 17, 1890 …   Wikipedia

  • Christopher Latham Sholes — (* 14. Februar 1819 bei Mooresburg, Pennsylvania; † 17. Februar 1890 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) war ein US amerikanischer Buchdrucker, Journalist und Erfinder. Leben Sholes Glidden Typewriter, 1876 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Christopher Sholes — Christopher Latham Sholes (* 14. Februar 1819 auf einer Farm bei Mooresburg, Pennsylvania, USA; † 17. Februar 1890 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) war ein US amerikanischer Buchdrucker, Journalist und Erfinder. Leben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sholes — Christopher Latham Sholes (* 14. Februar 1819 auf einer Farm bei Mooresburg, Pennsylvania, USA; † 17. Februar 1890 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) war ein US amerikanischer Buchdrucker, Journalist und Erfinder. Leben …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Christopher — /kris teuh feuhr/, n. 1. Saint, died A.D. c250, Christian martyr. 2. a male given name: from a Greek word meaning Christ bearer. * * * (as used in expressions) Burckhardt Jacob Christopher Christopher Carson Christopher Saint Columbus Christopher …   Universalium

  • Christopher — (as used in expressions) Burckhardt, Jacob (Christopher) Christopher Carson Fry, Christopher Christopher Harris Handy, W(illiam) C(hristopher) Isherwood, Christopher Christopher William Bradshaw Langdell, Christopher Columbus Christopher Murray… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sholes —   [ʃəʊlz], Christopher Latham, amerikanischer Drucker, Journalist und Erfinder, * Mooresburg (Pa.) 14. 2. 1819, ✝ Milwaukee (Wisconsin) 17. 2. 1890; entwickelte ab 1867 eine Schreibmaschine (verschiedene Patente), die in verbesserter Form ab… …   Universal-Lexikon

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