Guhl & Harbeck, Hamburg, Germany, 1882 – no serial number

Photograph of the Hammonia typewriter.The Hammonia was the first European typewriter to be produced in any numbers; however, this machine is scarce today.

This example with English writing was exported to their agent for Canada, R.J. McDowall.

It was invented by Andrew Hanson of London and covered by a British patent in 1882. H. A. Guhl of Hamburg protected it the following year with a German Patent and produced it in his sewing machine factory, Guhl and Harbeck, which later brought out a second typewriter called the Kosmopolit.

The long brass blade has the characters cut out along the bottom edge (see detail below). To operate one lifts the blade and moves it back and forth to select a character, then one pushes the black wooden handle straight down, somewhat like a cheese slicer, to type the character.

Hammonia is the Latin name for Hamburg and for Hamburg’s patron goddess. Who first appeared in art and literature in the 18th century. Up until the Reformation, the city’s patroness was the Virgin Mary. Hammonia, the patron goddess, is said to represent the values of Hamburg: freedom, peace, tolerance, prosperity, harmony, welfare and free trade.

“SPEED – It is easy to work, and with but very little trouble and practice more work can be done with it than a pen in the same time; whilst the advantage of distinctness over handwriting is indisputable.”


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