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typewriter, instrument for producing by manual operation characters similar to those of printing. Corresponding to each key on the instrument's keyboard is a steel type. Activated through a series of levers or an electronic impulse when its key is pressed, the type strikes the paper in the machine through an inked ribbon; the carriage holding the paper then automatically moves, providing space for the next character. The first recorded patent for a typewriter was taken out in England by Henry Mill in 1714. In the United States the typographer of William Austin Burt, patented in 1829, was the first practical writing machine. An improved French machine appeared in 1833. The early models were chiefly for the blind and produced embossed writing. A practical commercial machine invented in the United States in 1867 by Christopher Latham Sholes and his associates, Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soulé, was manufactured by Philo Remington and placed on the market in 1874. This early model had only capital letters. A shift-key model, permitting change of case, appeared in 1878. The electric typewriter, which allowed greater speed with less effort than a manual machine, came into use c.1935. The Selectric, introduced by International Business Machines (IBM) in 1961, replaced the usual type bars with a metal globe that moved across the surface of a stationary paper holder, replacing the moving carriage of the traditional typewriter; interchangeable globes provided a variety of typefaces and special symbols, allowing a single typewriter to be utilized for scientific writing, foreign languages, or other uses. The globe was later replaced by the daisy wheel, which spins the proper type into position. These innovations have allowed typewriters to become versatile printing instruments, capable of storing entire documents before printing, identifying and correcting errors as they arise, and connecting to computers. Nonetheless, the typewriter was almost completely superseded by personal computers using word-processing software and printers by the mid-1990s; the machines are still used for specialized printing functions. Other forms of typewriters included the stock ticker, which recorded its message on a narrow strip of paper, and the teletypewriter, which transmitted typing over an electric circuit such as the telephone or telegraph.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a transceiving start-stop printing device with a keyboard similar to that of a typewriter. Teletypewriters are used for long-distance transmission of messages over communications channels in the form of telegrams and coded messages. They are also used as input-output devices, or terminals, for electronic computers and automated data processing systems. In the receiving mode, the messages are automatically printed on the roll of paper in the receiver.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A special electric typewriter that produces coded electric signals corresponding to manually typed characters, and automatically types messages when fed with similarly coded signals produced by another machine. Also known as TWX machine.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(Nearly always abbreviated to "teletype" or "tty") An obsolete kind of terminal, with a noisy mechanical printer for output, a very limited character set, and poor print quality.

See also bit-paired keyboard.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


A low-speed teleprinter, often abbreviated "TTY."
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
The teletypewriter, which was part of a centralized telecommunications facility operated by signal soldiers, is being replaced today by a digital communications terminal (CT).
So, as teletypewriters began to wear out from use, a survey was conducted of equipment available to replace them.
The units are also 20 percent smaller than teletypewriters and quieter in operation since they have thermal instead of impact printing capabilities.
Sending data via existing phone lines which cost 50 percent less than the former private-line teletype network, teleprinters with keyboards provide greater communications flexibility than teletypewriters since they can communicate with Telex and TWX as well as teletype networks.
Operating six times faster than the previous system, the new teleprinters communicate at a rate of 30 characters per second or 300 baud in comparison to teletypewriter speeds of five characters per second or 50 baud.
Some of their hearing-impaired employees use teletypewriters to visually communicate over telephone lines.
During World War I, American cryptologists developed such a key for their teletypewriters. Today, the majority of commercial security systems use a product cipher known as the Data Encryption Standard (DES).
"Today, terminals attached to the network range from the familiar dial telephones and simple teletypewriters to literally hundreds of different devices such as facsimiles, data processing, and automatic answering terminals plus sophisticated telephone and switchboard systems.
The Company grew with the nation, and, as technology advanced--from the Morse key and sounder to the teletypewriter to multiplex telegraphy, microwave transmission, and message-switching computer--it adapted to new technology and kept pace with the nation's needs for expanded and enhanced message services.
* Teletypewriter and other office messsage services, basically Telex I and Telex II (TWX), which for the core network for rapid written communications among business firms in the United States and throughout the world.
Other innovations in communications were the teletypewriter and facsimile.
In the space of less than 10 years the expectation of what the interaction between human and computer would be like has changed from a terse, character-oriented exchange modeled on the teletypewriter to the now familiar Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointing device WIMP interface.