Today, when most of us head into the office, our quiet digital tools are ready and waiting, maintained by technology professionals and other unseen hands. But office work used to be much more of a do-it-yourself, hands-on affair. A sophisticated turn-of-the-century office, for example, might have boasted candlestick telephones, fountain pens with ink bottles, and a very rudimentary calculating machine, all ready and more than willing to malfunction at exactly the wrong time.

When copies of an important document needed to be produced, you didn't just knock out a PowerPoint and click send. Materials would have to be carefully gathered for the printer, who would laboriously set your peerless prose in type and then print your document by hand. Days might pass before your plan to re-organize the Midwest sales division would see the light of day.

One could send important communications by telegraph, either using Morse code or by sitting down at a printing telegraph machine. Early typewriters appeared in 1874, when E. Remington & Sons offered their customers a Sholes & Glidden “Type Writer” for $125. But the machines didn't really catch on broadly until the popular Underwood models of the 20th century.

Distributing what had been typed was not as automatic as the appearance of the FedEx truck at 4pm. Letters would have to be weighed before proper postage could be affixed, and then someone would have to trudge off to the nearest post office to make sure missives were mailed in time.

Much later in the 20th century, higher-tech office equipment came along, like slide rules, mechanical pencils, carbon paper, electronic calculators, and ultimately personal computers. Was this progress? We're not really sure!

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Pocket Protectors

Pocket Protectors

Dr. John Pojman's incredible gallery of over 500 pocket protectors, from every imaginable organization, company, an… [read review or visit site]

Early Office Museum

Early Office Museum

This site showcases pre-1920 office antiques, including paperweights, writing ink, paper fasteners, seal pressers, … [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Draper Chicago Typewriter Vintage Rare Red Everest Mcm Typewriter Types In Script ! Made In Italy 1960'sRare Antique 1890s American Bell Nickel Plated Brass Candlestick TelephoneSeth Thomas Office Calendar No. 6 Oak Double Dial Calendar Clock -- OriginalAntique Western Electric Candlestick Telephone1960s Trig 2 Slide Rule Sic & Keuffel & Esser Engineering Deci-lonScarce Antique Fox No. 2 Typewriter W/ Original Case - Circa 1902Remington Model 1 Portable Typewriter In Excellent Shape With Pop-up TypeBeautiful Western Electric Dial Candlestick Telephone, Restored & Working PhoneOlivetti Valentine TypewriterSun Hemmi 200 19+ Inch Slide Rule, Early Version, Signed Hemmi, No Model NumberFaber Castell 2/82n Slide Rule. Excellent Condition.Vintage 1930s Royal Deluxe Portable Typewriter Touch Control Glass Keys W/ CaseAntique Mercedes 5 Typewriter Of 1929 ; 86 Years Old And Working Perfect ! VideoExcellent Condition 1930s Underwood Champion Model Typewriter W CaseAntique Hammond Multiplex Open Typewriter With Oak Case Circa 1913Williams Brand Vintage Typewriter #6 Circa 1906 1920s Candlestick Telephone. Western Electric Dial Antique Desk Telephone. Metal1920's Remington Portable Model 1 Typewriter, Pop-up Keys Excellent W/caseAn Equipoise Telephone Extending Arm For Candlestick Telephone, 1907Vintage - Hopi Typewriter Ribbon Tin From Arizona - Mint! Indian ArrowheadVintage Antique Royal Standard Manual Typewriter With Glass Beveled Panels Western Electric Candlestick Telephone W/ Modular Plug. Plug-n-play. Excellent!Rare Vintage 7.25" K&e Deci-lon Slide Rule 68 1130 Keuffler & Esser Co W/ CaseAntique Typewriter American VisibleUnderwood Black Portable Typewriter 1918 Standard W/ Case For Parts/ RestoreAntique Glossy Black Mercedes Selekta Typewriter Of 1938,..77 Years Old,.workingAntique The Oliver Visible No.5 TypewriterSuperb Antique H. Upmann Humidor Office Jar Colorado Coronas Cigar Glass JarVintage Royal Portable Typewriter Blue In CaseVintage Candlestick Telephone Phone Antique Style Retro Rotary Push Button DialCandlestick Telephone Clip On Advertising Pencil Holder Pat. PendingErika 5 TypewriterVintage Typewriter Keys Type Keys Antique Mcm Jewelry Rare Smith CoronaVintage Royal Deluxe Portable Typewriter With Case & Instructions 1930s Gorgeous* Wwii Green Groma Model N Germany Ussr Occupied Typewriter W/ Case! Look!!The Oliver Typewriter Co. ~ Omaha Neb ~ Ne Celluloid Pinback Pin ButtonVintage Portable Remington-rand De Luxe Model 5 Typewriter/ Very Slick And CleanVintage Olympia Werke Ag Portable Typewriter Leather Case (609)Vintage Halden Calculex Circular Slide Rule, Case & Book Circa 1910 EnglandAnglo Catholic English Office Anglican Breviary Priest Society Ss Peter & PaulVintage Remington Round Typewriter Keys (48) Keys OnlyPickett 1962 Model N600-es Log Speed Slide Rule - Leather CaseAntique Vintage Royal #10 Typewriter W/ Glass Sides & Glass Keys1936 Antique Vintage Working Royal Model O Glass Keys TypewriterAntique 1909 Candlestick Telephone & Scissor Arm Stromberg Carlson Tel Mfg Co Pickett 103es Circular Slide Rule W/case + ManualsAntique Underwood Typewriter W/caseK&e Keuffel Esser Deci-lon Engineering Science Slide Rule 68-1100 Antique Remington Typewriter Keys - 45 Round Chrome White , Steampunk CraftsOld Eliot Ness Police Fbi Special Agent Office No. 1095 Chicago Business Card Vintage W.r. Case Xx 42057 Office Knife With White Composition Handles Antique/vintage 1920's Remington Standard #12 Typewriter. Great Cond.Candlestick Telephone Manufactuer UnknownVintage Royal Touch Control Deluxe Portable Manual Typewriter With CaseCamden County New Jersey Sheriffs Office Patch Badge Cool Antique Kellogg Office Desk Candle Stick Telephone Phone Movie Prop DecorVintage Smith Corona Classic 12 Portable Manual Typewriter W/ Case ScmVtg Royal Typewriter Portable Works Great New Ribbon Oiled Glass Button TopsAntique Candlestick Telephone Part Receiver Transmitter American Tel & Tel 1913