Miss Portable = the Blick
Small, light, portable, cheap, exchangeable type ... the Blickensderfer 5 that comes onto the market in 1893 is light years ahead. This is apparent the moment it is put next to a cumbersome, conventional machine of its day. The Blick is certainly being awarded the 'Golden Palm' for the first portable typewriter.
Travelling salesmen and small and medium-sized enterprises, all greet Blicks curious typewriter with open arms. It has a huge breakthrough in 1896. Its secret? It replaces all the separate type bars that a Remington has, with one central wheel. Much cheaper with less parts that can break down. The evidence? Countless machines that, like mine, excellently endure the ravages of time.
At least a hundred exchangeable types, with characters for foreign languages such as Greek, ensure international success. Moreover, the typists can see what they are typing - something that is still impossible on the conventional machines such as the Remington, Smith Premier or Yost. The letters on the type wheel are inked by ink cushions. The result? Sharper results than with a ribbon. The disadvantage? Having to ink the cushions often.
Blickensderfer is also stubborn in other areas. His machines are all given their own keyboards that bring the most often occurring letters closest to the typist. The lower row reads as 'DHIATENSOR'. With his 'scientific keyboard' Blick turns up his nose at the 'universal' QUERTY keyboard.
Yet later, he has to give in to QUERTY users who do not want to switch. Blick delicately asks them to sign a form. In this they state that they "have been warned that the universal keyboard is less efficient ..."
Blickensderfer keeps on improving his machine for decades and reduces its weight with the aluminum versions. This is the material with which a competitor builds the first portable machine with type bars in 1906: the Standard Folding. This makes it very difficult for the Blick.
Tied up in knots
Blickensderfer dies in 1917, after which the management in no time get tied up in knots. Because, however brilliant, the Blick has one great disadvantage: it is not equal to machines with type bars as regards speed. The inconceivable happens: the Blick company neglects the brainchild of its own inventor and invests in the rival: a machine with type bars.
Ten years later, Remington buys the production line of the defunct Blick and produces a clone of the Blick 5: the Rem-Blick. Read on>