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History of the Office and Office Equipment: A Resource Guide

Typewriters & Computers

Ralph Steiner, photographer. Typewriter keys. 1945. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

The history of typewriters and computers is primarily thought of as a 19th and 20th century story, but their history goes back in time and is intertwined with those machines and systems used to count or compute. The typewriter and later the computer, had a profound impact on the everyday office. This page primarily includes general histories of typewriters and computers though some of the resources in the Photocopiers, Calculators, etc. section may also contain information on this history of computing machines as well.

This section does not get into the developments related to software or to the development of networks and the internet. We have also not included trade magazines like PC World, BYTE and others devoted to particular hardware/software, but if you are interested in understanding the evolution of hardware and software these would be important resources.

Books & Periodicals

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital versions are provided when available.

Typewriter & Computer Internet Resources

General Equipment Internet Resources

Research the Companies

Beyond these titles, it might also be helpful to research the individual companies. While we aren't necessarily going to include resources for each and every company, a few names are worth noting. In the world of typewriters there are names like Underwood, Royal, and Remington but there are also others like Smith-Corona and IBM. There are a number of Big Name companies associated with making computer hardware as well as software including IBM, Apple, Tandy, Unix, Wang, Microsoft, etc.

If you want more guidance on company research, the Business Reference Section published Doing Company Research which is a guide for looking at current, or at least more current information, and Doing Historical Company Research which can help you to understand a bit more of the detective work for anyone researching companies from decades ago and may no longer be active companies.