Typewriter of the linear index, upstrike class, made by the Merritt Manufacturing Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A. The dseign was patented by M. G. Merritt in 1890.

This machine has a cylindrical platen beneath which is U-shaped metal rail, parallel to the platen axis and containing a linear array of individual type-pieces. The rail is linked to the operating handle which can move along a linear index marked with one row of letters and one row of numbers and other characters. When the desired letter or character is reached the handle is pressed down thus forcing an individual type piece to be pressed up through a small square-section guide hole and into contact with the paper and platen. Ink is applied to the type-piece by rollers on either side of the guide hole. Two shift keys provide for typing capitals or figures and other characters, and a third key provides for spaces.

The Merritt was a 'blind writer' in that the typed characters were not immediately visible to the operator and could only be seen by raising the platen.

Physical Description

Wooden baseboard. Metal frame supporting cylindrical platen. Metal components and fittings. Curved metal paper guide behind platen. Linear index scale in front of platen. Scale marked with one row of letters and one row of numbers and other characters, with white lettering on dark background. Line of individual type-pieces in trough beneath platen. Trough linked to operating handle which can move along index scale. Guide strips above and behind scale ensure handle alignment when it is pressed down at selected letter or character. Three keys to left of scale for 'SPACE', 'CAPS' and "FIGS/CHARS'.

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