George Anderson of Memphis, Tennessee is awarded the first patent for typewriter ribbons on this day in 1886. Before the advent of ribbons, typewriters used many different methods of producing type, including embossing and the use of carbon paper. The famous “Hansen Writing Ball,” invented by Rasmus Malling-Hansen, used short pistons that went directly through the ball and down to the paper. However, typewriter ribbon standardized the design and manufacture of typewriters into what became the norm: QWERTY keyboard, keys striking upward at the ribbon and paper, cylindrical carriage, etc.

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