The Typewriter Database

To find out when your typewriter was made, start by choosing the brand from the select box below.

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Green Serial #'s • Black notes, no #'s • Grey no info.


From the Virtual Typewriter Collection of Martin Howard:
1885 Columbia 1

Typeface Specimen:

qr code

1885 Columbia 1
Serial #

Status: My Collection
Created: 06-14-2017 at 07:53AM
Last Edit: 06-14-2017 at 07:53AM

Columbia Serial Numbers
Columbia Typewriter Galleries
Columbia 1 Typewriter Galleries


This beautiful little machine was the first typewriter invented by Charles Spiro, a New York watchmaker, mechanical inventor, and lawyer who went on to create other superb typewriters including the Bar-Lock

The Columbia was, along with the Crandall 1 and the Automatic seen in the collection, one of the first commercially successful typewriters to give proportional spacing, with the carriage moving varying amounts according to the different character widths. The Columbia was also first in giving visible typing, allowing one to see what they had just typed by looking down through the open window just above the ornate grille.

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Martin Howard
Username: MartinHoward

I am a collector of 19th century typewriters and have built a collection that shows the remarkable ingenuity and beauty of the world’s first typewriters. I have always been interested in the beginnings of a machine when there is an eruption of approaches to making it. Early typewriters are an exceptional example of this incubation period.

My website is