If you reply to the post today, you have William Burt to thank.
Burt - who, by the way, moved to Michigan in 1822 - introduced his desk-sized "typographer" on this day in 1829. It was a forerunner of the typewriter and that, of course, was the forerunner of the computer keyboard.
It was a quite heavy wooden device, but it was small enough to sit on a desktop. You turned a crank until the wheel of letters got to the one you wanted, then you pulled a lever and it was struck against the paper. I put the only decent picture I could find above.
The story is told of a university in New England where several enterprising students kept a "bank" of research and term papers, which they sold to other students who needed them.
However, to avoid being caught, the papers were ranked by grade so that an undistinguished student would not be able to hand in a brilliant term paper.
One student who had spent his weekend in pleasurable pursuits went to the bank and purchased a standard "C" grade paper, since his work in the class had been less than outstanding, and all he wanted to do was pass the course.
In due time, he received the paper back from his professor with these comments:
"Your work seemed strikingly familiar to me until I realized that this paper was, in fact, one that I, myself, had written twenty years ago!"
The student's heart sank, but he kept reading.
"I always thought that paper should have received an "A" instead of a "C." I am now happy to give it one!"
[Pastor Tim's Pearly Gates with heavy editing by Mark Raymond]
WONDER for YOUR WEEK: Why is tuition the one thing on which you can't get a student discount?
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