Absolute Michigan's Michigan Blog
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Typewriter invented in Michigan by ypsi~dixit

Y. writes about the invention of the typewriter by a "young American in the vicinity of Detroit". She writes:
YPSIDIXIT was cooling down from the excitement of her nasal cleaning pot experience by quietly reading Ralph Stein's The Great Inventions when she happened upon this alarming passage:

"The first American typewriter was invented by a thirty-seven-year-old Massachusetts Yankee named William Austin Burt. Like many another young American, he headed west after serving in the War of 1812 and settled his family in the vicinity of Detroit [what vicinity? -ed.]. He was a sort of backwoods mechanical genius, a surveyor, a builder of flour mills and sawmills."
In her subsequent comments she notes:
Burt Lake in Cheboygan County is also named for him. Poor guy. Slave away at one of the key inventions of the 19th century, one which sleepy bloggers will be typing away on on fall mornings one hundred and eighty years later, and get not worldwide acclaim but naming rights to a swamp in Godforsaken Michigan. Oh, and the Patent Office also lost his 1829 prototype in a fire. Such is the fate of geniuses.
While I disagree that Burt Lake is a "swamp", I do feel sorry for him that the prototype burned.

Read Typewriter invented in Ypsilanti? by ypsi~dixit

# posted by Tami @ 9:54 AM
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