American Typewriter Co., New York, 1901 – serial no.2138

Photograph of the American 1 Visible typewriter.
To type on the strange American Visible typewriter, one slides the nickel-plated selector back and forth over the keyboard (using either of the four pointers on the selector) to choose a character. The lever on the left side of the machine is then activated causing a metal rod to push the character forwards from a strip of molded rubber characters (shown below) against the platen. Two felt ink rollers kept the rubber characters inked as one moved the selector back and forth.

This typewriter sold for low price of only $3.98 in the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue.

“So simple in construction that even a child can operate it without an instructor.”

β€œIn the high-priced machines this (learning the key locations) requires many months of tedious five finger exercises, but with this machine, a few hours practice will enable you to carry on your ordinary correspondence at a fair rate of speed, which will increase rapidly until you can exceed the speed of the pen, from five to ten words a minute.”