Celebrating 24 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”
more quiz questions >>
Thumbnail of Charles Thurber (source)
Charles Thurber
(2 Jan 1803 - 7 Nov 1886)

American inventor of a Printing Machine, an early form of typewriter.

Banner heading of Scientific American for Vol 2 No 16 page 121 on 9 Jan 1847
Thurber’s Chirographer.

from Scientific American (1847)

We some month’s since noticed Mr. Thurber’s very ingenious machine for writing or forming letters by means of a series of keys which are operated like the keys of an organ. As the inventor’s claim in this invention may be interesting to some of our readers, we give it an insertion. The patentee says—“The nature of my invention consists in communicating to a pen or pencil holder, the motions necessary to delineate any and all letters or other characters, by motions at right angles to each other, obtained by sets of cams, each set being so formed as to combine the right angle movements, and thus generate the vertical, horizontal, oblique, and curved lines required to delineate the letters or characters. Each set of cams is actuated by a separate or distinct lever or handle, as in a piano forte, and the table, with the paper, &c., caused to move for ward the required distance at the termination of each letter or character by the return motion of the lever or handle.

Claim—“Having pointed out the principle of my invention, and the manner of constructing and using the same, and indicated some of the variations in construction, which may be made without changing the principle or character which distinguishes it from all other things before known, what I claim as my invention, and desire to secure by letters patent is communicating the motions to the pen or pencil by means of cams acting on frames, so that the vertical and horizontal strokes can be given by separate movements, and the oblique curved strokes by the combined action of the two, substantially as herein described. And I also claim giving to the sheet of paper, or other substance to be written upon, a horizontal movement for spacing off the letters, and a vertical movement for the lines, in combination with the movements of the pen or pencil, substantially as herein described.”

[This refers to Thurber’s second patented machine, US patent 4,271 issued 18 Nov 1845. —Webmaster]

Banner image and text from Scientific American (Jan 1847), 2, No. 16, 121 & 124. (source)

See also:
  • 2 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Thurber's birth.
  • More for Charles Thurber on Today in Science History page.
  • Charles Thurber - Printing Machine (Typewriter) Patent No. 3228 - Brief Descriptions.
  • Large picture of Charles Thurber Printing Machine (1000 x 700 px)
  • Thurber’s First Patent - Text and images from Patent No. 3,228.
  • 26 Aug - event description for date Patent No. 3228 (issued 26 Aug 1843), and other events.
  • Typewriter Quotes - Today in Science History

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)

Thank you for sharing.
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.