Typewriter of the type-bar downstrike class manufactured by the Williams Typewriter Company of Derby, Connecticut, U.S.A. The design was first patented by John Newton Williams in 1875 and the Williams Typewriter entered production in 1891. The Model 2 was introduced in 1896.

The Williams design was introduced at a time when most typewriters were 'blind writers' in that the typed characters were underneath the platen and were not visible to the operator. To solve this problem John Williams invented the so-called 'grasshopper' action for the typebars of his machine. In this action a typebar moved from its rest position with the type-piece against an inking pad forward, upward then downward in an arc to bring the type-piece down on top of the paper and platen. Thus the typed characters were visible to the operator. To fit the mechanism into the space available the typebars had to be arranged in two sets, one in front of and one behind the platen. The type-baskets were also fan-shaped with the narrower end towards the platen. The inking pads were at the narrow end of the type-basket.

Because of the arrangemant of the type-baskets the paper had to be rolled up within circular guides on each side of the platen, beneath the type-baskets. This meant that in fact only one line of printing was visible to the operator at a time.
The Williams Typewriter Company failed in 1909.

Physical Description

Black metal frame. Cylindrical platen. Two fan-shaped type-baskets, one in front of and one behind platen, with narrow ends towards platen. Each type-basket contains 14 type-bars. Inking pads at narrow ends of fans. QWERTY keyboard with three straight rows with total of 28 character keys and two additional keys on left-hand side for caps and figs. Short spacebar in front of keyboard. Four thin metal loops in front of and below platen and four similar loops behind and below platen to contain rolled paper.

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