Those of you who were born before the advent of the personal computer will have a difficult time appreciating how cool toy typewriters were. There was something empowering and exciting about, as a child, having the ability to write a letter, create a story or even print a newspaper.
I loved my toy typewriter and can draw a straight line from playing with that childhood toy to my sitting here now and writing this article. In fact, I can clearly remember publishing my own little newspaper (there was only one edition which I sold to my parents). The lead headline was "Dickie Gottlieb's Parakeet Died Last Night". The Dickie Gottlieb was, of course me, and the parakeet was the late Birdie (you would think I would have come up with a more original name but I obviously had not yet been bestowed with an imagination.)
Sadly, I don't believe anyone makes toy typewriters anymore but they may be due for a retro revival. In the meantime, enjoy seeing some of these images from past years.
Dial Typewriter, Louis B. Marx Company circa 1920's / 1930's
The above Louis B. Marx Dial model was an early toy typewriters. It was clumsy to use as the child had to dial up each letter and then push a button. It was tedious but yet oddly satisfying.
If you look closely at the toy typewriter at the bottom of the above ad, you will see that it sold for $1.10. That translates to about $25.99 in today's money so it was really a pretty good value. It appears like it was made for an adult but sized down to match a child's fingers. It certainly is not as good looking as the later Marx version.
I guess we could classify the above Animal Keyboard from Corona as a sort of 1930's STEM toy. The typewriter did not come with animal keys but they could be purchased, with matching animal rings, separately for $2.25 (that's $40.00 in 2017 money). The idea was to get comfortable stroking keys by matching the finger with the animal or color.
Imperial Toy Typewriter, Tippco, 1950's
A beautiful later version of the Dial Toy Typewriter came in the 1950's from Tippco, a German company. Its certainly sleeker looking but still required the user to dial each letter before pressing.