This rare 1950s typewriter hammers out musical notations, not letters and numbers

Here's something you don't see every day: a typewriter that hammers out musical notations. Made for use with music staff paper, the Keaton Music Typewriter was first patented in 1936 by San Francisco's Robert H. Keaton for use by composers, arrangers, teachers and students.

The original model had just 13 keys but Keaton's second patent for this "music typing machine" was granted in 1953 and included 33 keys.

If you've got a spare $12K, you can pick one of these little beauties up from Etsy shop WorkingTypewriters (back in the 1950s they sold for $225).

The seller writes:

Estimates are that there are less than 20 machines on there, maybe even as few as 6...

The Keaton Music typewriters were produced in two batches, this one stemming from 1953 and has the more elaborate keyboard. They were made with the idea that musicians would be able to quickly and precisely write out their compositions. A typewriter for music. It didn't work as well, typing music is more laborious than typing words and it never really caught on.

Watch the video to get a feel for how challenging this "typewriter for music" is to operate.

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