Books: The Literary Piano

THE TYPEWRITER AND THE MEN WHO MADE IT (149 pp.)—Richard N. Current —University of Illinois Press ($3.50).

THE WONDERFUL WRITING MACHINE (236 pp.)—Bruce Bliven Jr.— Random House ($3.95).

When the steel pen was replacing the quill around 1800 A.D., the world thought it had chipped and scratched its way to some kind of penman's peak. But steel pens could be pushed no faster than 30 words a minute. By 1867, no less than 51 men had tried and failed to invent a machine that would write faster. The 52nd, Christopher Latham Sholes of Milwaukee,...

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