Sunday, October 20, 2013

Touch typing practice without a typewriter

Economizing - get up to proper typing-speed before using a machine proper. A low cost way to get practice on a keyboard, from a late 30-ies article in a magazine. Forgot to write down which when I snapped the snippet, probably Popular Science. I'd stored this a while back, now finally getting round to posting after being triggered by a recent post by Mark Adams about the Tuch-Rite method.

The image of the machine is definitely suggesting a particular brand/type of machine. No mention of it in the caption, but suggests this might be from or sponsored by this particular manufacturer.

Actually it is a rather fitting image, this practice board would definitely be noiseless.

Digging around a bit more (the internet is an amazing source of trivia), first ran across an advert from 1951 for the courses of ICS, with a special caption for the Tuch-Rite method to learn touch-typing in just one day. The 'new method' still showing a noiseless picture on it's patented practice keyboard. At $25, less low-cost than I had expected! (Though in a '58 classified it is offered at $4.95 by the Tuch-Rite company of Philadelphia and in a '41 ad even for $2 (instruction book included).)

This contains the information that the unique keyboard is patented; and indeed it is. Already published in 1938 is US patent number 2,141,747 for an "Educational appliance", invented by Philip S. Gross. The publication date of the patent fits with the first article from the late 30-ies, it would have been publicized around then.

Turns out there was a book made of this method, authored by Irene A. White and Philips S. Gross published in 1953 called "Tuch-Rite Methods". Additionally the method was sold as a record with the patented keyboard included to practice with. Actually it is already being advertised with a record to listen/type/learn in 1947.

There is then also at long last a hint of a link with Remington, as some Remington branded Tuch-Rite courses (records) show up for sale on auction sites. Advertisements from the early 60-ies indeed show the Tuch-Rite course being bundled free with the purchase of a new portable.

Odd in a way, with the teaching method choosing the Remington Noiseless image at launch (not the most generic image they could have used). Add to that the odd spelling of 'rite' and compounding it with 'tuch'; was Remington in any way involved at the time? Were they inspired by this zippy new spelling by Mr Gross c.s. when naming their 'riter' machines?

Later records however show only the Tuch-Rite branding and an updated, more modern typewriter image being used (On the table a large Royal?).

Even though there isn't a lot of recent, modern information on this cardboard keyboard to learn touch-typing, there seems to be still a "Tuch-Rite Methods Inc" company in PA; listed as active since 1952.

Distracting, this internet...


  1. Of course, the limitation of this method is that there is no visual feedback unless you are looking at the keyboard. How can you develop touch typing?

  2. I just can't imagine that this was ever a method that actually worked. With a low price, I'm sure it sold decently well, but I have a feeling a lot of these ended up in people's closets. But, who knows, perhaps there is someone out there that found it helpful. Good writeup. Much appreciated.