Log In

Search form

You are here

The Typewriter: An Innovation in Writing - New Museum Exhibition

New exhibition highlights typewriter technology through more than a century of design

The typewriter is one of the great inventions of the modern world.  A marvel of industrial engineering and ingenuity, it revolutionized communication and was an essential tool for countless writers.  To comprehend the typewriter’s impact, consider a world where typing did not exist and handwriting was the main form of non-verbal communication.  The ease and speed of communication on paper increased dramatically when typewriters became available in the late 1800s. Typewriting was efficient, created clear and legible documents, and easily produced multiple copies using carbon paper.

In recent years, a renewed interest in typewriting has brought many of these classic machines back into focus.  Unlike computers, typewriters translate ideas directly onto paper through an audible rhythm of keys and swinging type-bars.  There is no delete function to shroud errors, and a well-edited typescript illustrates a creative process through handwritten notations and corrections typed over in ink.  Today, collectors and writers all over the world value the timeless aesthetics and utility of the typewriter.  This exhibition traces a history of typewriter technology and innovation through more than a century of design, from early writing machines to modern portables and Asian typewriters with thousands of characters.

Thank you to the following lenders for making this exhibition possible: California Typewriter, Computer History Museum, History San José, Joe Welch American Antique Museum, Mickey McGowan, Thomas S. Mullaney, Timothy S. Mundorff, Museum of American Heritage, Peter Smith, Steve Soboroff, Nick Tauriainen, and Janine Vangool.

The online version of the exhibition is viewable at: http://www.flysfo.com/museum/exhibitions/typewriter-innovation-writing

The Typewriter: An Innovation in Writing is located beyond security screening in Terminal 2, Departures Level, San Francisco International Airport.  The exhibition is on view to Terminal 2 ticketed passengers from May 13, 2017 to January 28, 2018.  There is no charge to view the exhibition.