The First Daisy Wheel Typewriter Is Retina MacBook Pro's Great Great Great Great Great-Ancestor

Illustration for article titled The First Daisy Wheel Typewriter Is Retina MacBook Pro's Great Great Great Great Great-Ancestor

Manufactured in 1889, the Victor was the first typewriter to use a daisy wheel, a feature that would later become common in the design of 1980s typewriters.

The daisy wheel is made of thin brass and cut with skinny radial fingers, each of which is capped with an embossed rubber character, like a rubber stamp.

To operate the Victor one puts the tip of ones index finger in the little cup at the end of the pointer, then swings the pointer up to a full 180 degrees to select the characters. The pointer is connected by a gear to the central vertical wheel that holds the daisy wheel. As the pointer swings, the daisy wheel rotates into position. A spring-loaded hammer then pushes the brass finger in the daisy wheel against the paper.


In its day, the Victor sold for $15—roughly the equivalent of $375 today. [AntiqueTypewriters via BoingBoing]

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Broken Machine

Twenty years ago, when I was in college, I had a professor that LOATHED computers and word processors. He claimed they were destroying literature and typing skills, that cut-and-paste was ruining artists' work at the hands of editors, that text printed out on impact dot matrix printers was an eyesore, that the perforations on the edges of computer paper was equally an eyesore, and that our class was not to use computers. If he felt that any paper we handed in was typed on anything but a typewriter, It would receive a failing grade. He went so far as to say he wanted to feel the impression that 'only' a typewriter would leave.

I related this to my father, who at the time worked for HP. He went to the office and came home with a daisy wheel printer. Sure, I had to print and feed sheets manually, but I wasn't waiting in line at the library for a typewriter. I think he still has it.