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April 2013 - Toronto

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Main Content Inline SmallIt has been a year since my last Newsletter and a couple of notable projects got underway.

Doug Nichol, a filmmaker from San Francisco, approached me last year to present the history of typewriters as part of a full-length documentary on typewriters. Famous people who still use typewrites have also been interviewed, including Tom Hanks, Sam Sheppard, John Mayer and the Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough. The film will be out this year.

Norman Ball is a retired Professor of technology in society. He is an author and former archivist and curator at the Canada Museum of Science and Technology. With his keen interest in early technology and of course typewriters, we have become good friends and are working on a book about the world’s first typewriters.

As Norman puts it --- My five-year-old grandson doesn’t know what they are. Actor Tom Hanks collects them. And I am so captivated by their beauty and their astounding variety that I am writing a book about them, in collaboration with Martin Howard, another well-known collector. What are they? Antique typewriters.”

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In search of a public exhibit

I would love to create another public exhibit and wonder how this might be achieved. It has been five years since twenty of my typewriters formed an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, called ‘Early Typewriters - Gateway to the Information Age’.

A nice legacy of this show is that the exhibit room at the ROM is now referred to as the ‘Typewriter Room’.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on where an antique typewriter exhibit could be presented, please let me know.

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Interesting Links

The McLoughlin Brothers Typewriter

  • my article about the first typewriter to be marketed for children in 1884

Radio interview for The New Classical 96.3 FM

  • John van Driel spoke with me about my collection in 2007, when the Royal Ontario Museum was exhibiting my typewriters.

Short Film - Notes from the Kuerti Keyboard

Norman Ball’s wonderful Paris blog ‘Parisian Fields’ has two well-written typewriter stories featuring typewriters from my collection:

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A lovely expression of one man’s vision when seeing antique typewriters:

Dear Martin,
In my imagination any of these amazing typewriters appears as an image of a fantastic, surreal city in the Victorian style, with castles and factories, in which outstanding beauty is combined with technical perfection. 

Best wishes,

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The Collection

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This major collection of typewriters from the 1880s and 1890s contains many rare and historically important machines, showing some of the very earliest efforts to create a 'type writing' machine. The variety, ingenuity and designs of these first typewriters are remarkable.

The collection has been built by Torontonian Martin Howard over twenty years and has been exhibited at museums, featured in national newspapers, magazines, films and seen on television.

William Thorsell, former CEO and General Manager of the Royal Ontario Museum has this to say about the collection:

"The (Howard) collection illustrates mankind’s search for a solution to a challenge, the intriguing avenues explored, the beautiful means by which they were expressed and the technical proficiency of the age. The invention of the typewriter also speaks to social change, and the explosion of communications means in the 19th and early 20th Centuries."

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Interested in more?

  • Exhibits and Displays
  • Interviews
  • Props
  • Press Kit
  • Print ready articles
  • Prints for framing
  • Digital photos for art and advertising
  • Sales, acquisitions, assessments & restoration

Mr. Howard is also always interested in new and interesting opportunities.

Martin Howard
416-690-7432 Toronto (EST)

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