Typewriter Spacebar History

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Why the spacebar on the keyboard is a bar? Was there typewriter with space key instead of a bar?

I asked a keyboard history expert Marcin Wichary, who is a programer at Google, and is writing a book on typewriter/keyboard.

And, here's his spectacular answers.

typewriter and the men who made Them Richard Nelson Current
Excerpt from book. 〔the typewriter and the men who made Them By Richard Nelson Current. Buy at amazon

quote:

the typist suggested that two space keys be installed, one at each side of the keyboard, and given lips projecting inward, to make them easier to hit.

Densmore liked this idea so well that he wrote repeatedly to Milwaukee demaning that it be put into effect. Accordingly, Sholes directed Schwalbach to fashion the key buttons with lateral extensions, but when Glidden saw them he saked: “Why not join the two and have a single flat piece extending all the way across?” Thus originated the space bar …

the typewriter and the men who made Them By Richard Nelson Current.〕

the typewriter and the men who made Them  Richard Nelson Current
the typewriter and the men who made Them By Richard Nelson Current. Buy at amazon

Typewriters with Non-Spacebar Space Keys

The Caligraph Typewriter

caligraph typewriter no3 08277 s
The Caligraph Typewriter №3. 1891. The two big rectangles on the sides are the space keys. 3488×3264 〔image source https://thngs.co/things/8524

〔►see Caligraph Typewriter

The Hammond Typewriter

the hammond 1 typewriter 78396
The Hammond 1 Typewriter, year 1884. 〔image source, photo by Marcin Wichary, used with permission.〕

〔►see Hammond Typewriter

The Smith Premier Typewriter

smith premier typewriter no1 51111
The Smith Premier №1 Typewriter. 〔image source, photo by Marcin Wichary, used with permission.〕

〔►see Smith Premier Typewriter

Cahill Electric №2 Typewriter

Cahill Universal Electric no2 typewriter 85524
Cahill Universal Electric №2 Typewriter. ~1897. It has a spacebar, but also a “space key” on the right. 〔image source http://oztypewriter.blogspot.com/2012/12/caveat-emptor-typewriters-on-ebay.html

〔►see Cahill Electric Typewriter


See also: Tiny Space Bar on Japanese Keyboards


Upcoming Book on Keyboard

Marcin Wichary is writing a book related to typewriter and keyboard.

He regularly tweets gorgeous photos of exotic typewriters and old computer keyboards i've never seen before.

Follow Marcin Wichary at https://twitter.com/mwichary

2017 05 18 212127 600x820 scrot
〔source https://twitter.com/mwichary/status/865400550921129985