To make sure that whoever was using the typewriter could see where they were about to print, Keaton included a long needle next to the ribbon that leaves nothing up to chance. Interestingly, the two keyboards work in different ways with the Scale Shift Handle. The larger keyboard with the notes, scales, sharps, and flats moves freely in tandem with the Scale Shift Handle. The smaller keyboard (which contains items like bar lines and ledger lines) stays in place since its characters always appear in the same place with respect to the staff lines.

The end result, unlike handwritten manuscripts, was supposed to be of publishable quality. Reportedly, it made it easier for publishers, educators, and other musicians to produce music copies in quantity. Composers, on the other hand, still preferred to write their music out by hand. However, due to its incredibly thin niche, we can’t know for certain if the product was a commercial success or a bust. But its originality has made the Keaton Music Typewriter a desired collectible. Although it is thought that only about a dozen of them remain in working condition, sometimes they can found on online auctions selling for around $6,000-$12,000.

Like it? Share with your friends!