George Washington Newton Yōst always believed in using teamwork to develop his various typewriters, and in this case it’s hands across the Atlantic in a collaboration for a switchable platen for the Yōst.
American mechanical engineer John Morrell Fairfield and English cycle maker Graham Inglesby Francis joined forces to come up with this design, which was patented on this day (December 15) in 1891.
The idea was to allow typists to easily switch from a soft platen for ordinary work to a harder platen for manifolding (copying using sheets of carbon paper).
Guy Pérard at typewriter.beFairfield and Francis explained their objective was “construction of [a] paper-carriage whereby the platen thereof may be readily detached and another substituted. As is well known to those skilled in the art, for ordinary work a comparatively soft platen yields the best results, while for manifolding or the taking of a large number of copies at one time a platen with a harder surface should be employed to obtain the most satisfactory impressions. It is desirable therefore to provide a construction of machine by which the operator may with facility make the change from one type of platen to the other, according to the character of the work to be performed.”
Fairfield was born in East Charlemont, Massachusetts, on November 8, 1848, and died on January 17, 1901. Francis was born in Islington, London, in 1863.