Top Navigation

Manual Typewriters

What a clickety clackety racket the old manual typewriters made! These intent students were enrolled at Jacksonville School of Technology in 1949. Yes, manual typewriters have gone the way of slide rules and carbon paper. They are collector’s items, relics of days long gone.

But when typewriters were first introduced commercially in the 1860s, they quickly became indispensable tools. Although personal correspondence remained largely handwritten, business correspondance and professional writers came to rely on the mechanical machines to produce standardized and legible documents. Various improvements to the basic mechanical typewriter–at first “noiseless” designs, then electric models, then the cool IBM Selectric typeball, then self-correcting typewriter/printer hybids–ensured that the typewriter remained enshrined in offices and homes for the next century. By the end of the 1980s, however, word processors and personal computers had largely displaced typewriters in most areas of the western world.

Still, a niche market fot typewriters remains. They remain popular in several countries, including India. Also, typewriters are still common in  many U.S. correctional facilities because regulations prohibit prisoners from  having computers or telecommunication equipment, but allow them  to own typewriters. (Source:

Back to picture: The Jacksonville School of Technology was operated by the Duval County School Board. It offered a diversity of trade & vocational classes, including instruction in sheet metal, real estate, shorthand, radio repair, commercial art, fabrics study, furniture sales, cosmetics sales, the choice & preparation of foods, and the use of slide rules & steel squares. The institution even offered an aviation room in order to teach flying. In 1949, the school was located at 129 King Street, past the western edge of LaVilla. Its founder was William R. Scheel, a Riverside resident who was married to Alma until his death in 1949.

~written by Glenn Emery

Copyright © 2019 by Jacksonville Historical Society