Mark Twain on typewriters

Mark Twain writes about using one of the first typewriters, disliking it, and attempting to get rid of it:

In a previous chapter of this Autobiography I have claimed that I was the first person in the world that ever had a telephone in his house for practical purposes; I will now claim — until dispossessed — that I was the first person in the world to apply the type-machine to literature.

That book must have been “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” I wrote the first half of it in ’72, the rest of it in ’74. My machinist type-copied a book for me in ’74, so I conclude it was that one. That early machine was full of caprices, full of defects — devilish ones. It had as many immoralities as the machine of to-day has virtues.

After a year or two I found that it was degrading my character, so I thought I would give it to Howells. He was reluctant, for he was suspicious of novelties, and unfriendly toward them, and he remains so to this day. But I persuaded him. He had great confidence in me, and I got him to believe things about the machine that I did not believe myself.

He took it home to Boston, and my morals began to improve, but his have never recovered. He kept it six months, and then returned it to me. I gave it away twice after that, but it wouldn’t stay; it came back. Then I gave it to our coachman, Patrick McAleer, who was very grateful, because he did not know the animal, and thought I was trying to make him wiser and better. As soon as he got wiser and better, he traded it to a heretic for a side-saddle which he could not use, and there my knowledge of its history ends.

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