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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

COOL STUFF #13 | The 1953 Keaton Music Typewriter

By Ludwig Van on February 27, 2016

Ever wonder how they used to print music?

1953 Keaton Music Typewriter
1953 Keaton Music Typewriter

Before the invention of based notation software programs, there was The Keaton Music Typewriter. In was originally invented as a portable typewriter with just 14 keys in San Francisco by Robert H. Keaton in 1933. He released a larger 33 key version in 1953 (see photos) which sold for the tidy sum of $225.

Sales figures are unknown, but today it is estimated that between six and 24 are left in existence. One was recently up for sale on Etsy for $6000 USD.

The typewriter worked by placing a single sheet of paper on a board behind the typing mechanism.

You can read more about these historical music notation machines at Musicprintinghistory.org. It’s a great resource for those interested in learning about the history of music printing. While you’re there check out the Columbia Music Typewriter invented in 1885. Neat stuff!

MBHT_Keaton_Music_Typewriter_brochure_cover

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