No, this is not a hoax, and no, this is not one of a part of the Spot-the-Not contest from Ripleyâs Believe it or Not either. An ad printed in a Victorian publication dating 1893 called The Manufacturer and Builder apparently promoted this ‘new portable typewriter that can readily be used on the lap, on the desk, on the train- in short anywhere’. At just 12-inches long by 6-1/2 inches wide by 2 inches deep, and weighing a mere 3 pounds, the World typewriter rounded up at around the same size as any modern day notebook but instead of a keyboard, it used a dial that let users choose a character with the right hand which was subsequently typed on paper via a lever pressed by the left hand.
It sounds hard enough but the ad emphatically suggested that the laptop typewriter could easily be mastered by any person of ordinary intelligence within a few weeks of practice who can then type at the speed of forty words per minute or twice the speed of a rapid penman. We donât quite know why the invention never gained popularity, but I guess if this story really gains momentum, the patent for the invention of the worldâs first laptop might just be taken away from one Mr. Adam Osborne.