So did anyone actually buy and use this strange invention, the Sholes visible typewriter, a century ago? We have ads from dates such as 1901 and 1905, but of much greater interest is this 1910 photo of a Sholes Visible in its original habitat. For all I know, this could be the very same machine that I'm now restoring.
This photo is reproduced with permission from Peter Weil's vast and wonderful collection of typewriter-related images, ads, stationery, and other cultural breccia (tip o' the hat to Dwayne F. for that phrase). Peter writes a quarterly "Ephemera" column for ETCetera, and he's a professor of anthropology at the University of Delaware. His notes on the image show us what an anthropologist can do with a photograph:
Sholes Visible Typewriter #2 (1901); in the office of the shipping department of the W.R. McTurk Coal Company in the borough of Girardville (in Schuylkill County), Pennsylvania, in September 1910; subject is George W. Newton, a shipper who, perhaps with intended humor, is holding a rifle or shotgun; ironically, or maybe not, Girardville was called “Gun-Town” by locals; at that time, McTurk operated at least two mines in the area, about sixty miles northeast of Reading, PA; the mines were the Girard Bear Ridge and the Girard Mammoth; office is lighted by the shaded window in back behind the typewriter and the kerosene chandelier to the right; the Sholes Visible appears to be the second of the three models (carriage return lever but no decal, “Meiselbach” or otherwise) on the lower front of the frame, which also looks to be shaped differently than the same area of the frame on later examples; sitting on a desk that appears to be, at least in part, made out of a cotton spool thread cabinet; other office technology includes a stencil-based “mimeo” machine of indeterminate brand and a book press.
What else do you see in this photo?