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James Hammond obtained a patent for the construction of the machine in 1881, and its serial production began in 1884. The presented model 12 was created in the early 20th century in two versions; one was characterized by an arched two-row keyboard, typical of the early Hammonds; and the second, with a three-row keyboard, was typical for three-register machines. The final version, seen in the presented object, was introduced at the end of the nineteenth century along with the growing competition of lever-typing machines, with a typical arrangement of keys in straight rows.

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James Hammond obtained a patent for the construction of the machine in 1881, and its serial production began in 1884. The presented model 12 was created in the early 20th century in two versions; one was characterized by an arched two-row keyboard, typical of the early Hammonds; and the second, with a three-row keyboard, was typical for three-register machines. The final version, seen in the presented object, was introduced at the end of the nineteenth century along with the growing competition of lever-typing machines, with a typical arrangement of keys in straight rows.
The machine represents a constructive solution with writing in the field of view, with an annular writing head and a three-register keyboard. This means that one key corresponds to three characters, depending on the settings of the register changers. The visibility of the written text provided the Hammonds with an advantage over the machines with invisible writing — including the famous Remingtons by Christopher Sholes. The second major advantage of the machine was the ease of changing the font tile in order to change the typeface or the alphabet. This was especially important in international correspondence, for example, when there was a need to write in Cyrillic letters.
Amidst the richness of head machine solutions, the Hammond construction is distinguished by a fixed annular writing head. When the key is pressed, the rotary tappet moves the arched font tile, guided around the circuit of the writing head ring, to set the font in front of the paper card on the roller; then over the roller, from the back, the hammer hits the paper, and it is pressed against the font through the ink ribbon.
Despite the displacement of head machines by classical ones, the Hammond solution proved to be extremely durable, and — even in the 1980s — it appeared in the varityper imagesetters. It is also worth noting, that the typical solution for the three-register machines, with two keys for changing the register of shift marks and “alt” — created one hundred years ago — still finds its application in today's computers.
An interesting fact is that Suffragettes — the first Polish novel written on the machine — was created on a Hammond (model 3), acquired by Boleslaw Prus in 1897, using the same mechanism.

Elaborated by the Municipal Engineering Museum, © all rights reserved

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