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    

Antique Vintage Bakelite Candlestick Telephone Receiver Ear Piece Phon Bell ?Vintage 1950's Aqua Royal Quiet De Luxe Portable Manual Typewriter W/case Rare!Genuine Piece Of The First Zeppelin Wrecked In England 1916 - War Office - RareVintage 1930s Portable Deco Typewriter W Case Underwood Champion Elliott FisherRare Old Seth Thomas Rosewood Office #2 Regulator Gallery Lobby Wall Chime Clock4ft Vintage Pickette Slide Rule -large Classroom Demo ModelOlympia Typewriter Sm4 S 1960 W/ Case Manual Elite Portable Vintage Germany RareVintage 1930's Ruby Red Royal Gradient Typewriter With Glass KeysCurta Calculator Type Ii-serial No. 529930!!!Vintage Typewriter Smith Corona Folding Nr580 Antique Vintage Typewriter Keys Key Junk Lot Colors Flat Backs Green Blue Early 1900's Western Electric Nickel Plated Candlestick Telephone Phone Cursive Script Pink Vintage Royal Signet Typewriter With Case And KeyVintage 30's Remington Manuel Typewriter 2 Tone Green Celluloid Keys Tweed CaseVintage Py Anthropomorphic Lock Boxes Salt And Pepper Shakers S&p Office SeriesVintage Portable Typewriter With Case..remington..streamliner..sperry Rand..aquaVintage Molle No. 3 Circa 1920s Black Collectible TypewriterOlympia Typewriter Sm3 Deluxe1955 W/ Wood Case Manual Pica Portable Germany NrEarly Patent Pending Gilson Circular Slide Rule No Case Or Manual Niles MichiganVintage Royal Deluxe Beautiful 1937 Manual Portable Typewriter Obsolete L.a. County Deputy Sheriff-bureau Of Investigations- Da's Office BadgeVintage Smith Corona Orange Super G Ghia Design Portable Manual TypewriterVintage Rare Blue Corona Portable Typewriter W/ Case Yellow KeysPickett 1962 Model N600-es Log Log Speed Slide Rule, 6", Leather Case W/clipRare Corona 3 Folding Typewriter In Case W/pharmacy Keys. Army Field Hospital?Vintage Obsolete Probation Office Badge Excelsior Rolled Gold Niagara Falls NyVintage Hermes Rocket Portable Typewriter By Paillard Switzerland AntiqueRemington Streamline 5 Vintage TypewriterVintage 1930s Underwood Portable Typewriter, Good Working Condition, No CaseVintage Olympia Werke Germany Portable Deluxe Typewriter W/caseVintage 1930's Remington Rand Model 5 Portable Streamline Typewriter W/ CaseEarly Unusual K & E Chemical Slide Rule No. 4160 In Case50 Typewriter Keys Flat Backs - Black White Green Red - Crafts Jewelry MakingOffice Knife By Walden Knife Co, White Comp Handles With Nice Scroll, 1874-1923Vtg Royal Blue Underwood Typewriter W/ Original CaseVintage Underwood 315 Typewriter Works Great W/case Turquoise & White Victorian, Dog's Head Shaped Office Papers' Holder, Vienna Bronze ?Vintage Underwood 11? 1923? Manual Typewriter - WorkingVintage Remington Model 1 Portable Typewriter,types English & Spanish, Gorgeous!Vintage 1961 Hermes 3000 Typewriter; Cleaned And Ready To Write, No ReserveExceptionally Clean 1939 Remington Noiseless Portable Typewriter In Case N168331Vintage Smith Corona Standard Typewriter Four Carrying Storage Case W/ ManualVintage Amc (alpina) Manual Qwerty Typewriter With Case & Key, Western Germany Vintage Smith Corona Cougar Teal Aqua Blue Portable Manual TypewriterThe American Index Typewriter No. 2 Broadway 265 New York Antique C1893 VintageAntique Vintage Underwood Four Bank Portable Typewriter1913 Automatic Electric Type 11 Candlestick Telephone W/"mercedes" Type 12 DialNear Mint Fully Reconditioned Olivetti-underwood Lettera 22 TypewriterVtg Pale Green Smith Corona Silent Super Typewriter W/case Nice Working Cond.Vintage Red Olivetti Dora TypewriterVintage Sun Hemmi Bamboo 255 D Slide Rule With CaseBrl Janus Series T.50 Slide Rule In Hard CaseVintage Royal Quite Deluxe Manual Typewriter Good Shape Hard Case Faber Castell 2/83n Novo-biplex Slide Rule / Original BoxVintage Olympia Splendid 33 Typewriter With Case And Packaged Instructions Nice!Vintage 1940s L C Smith & Corona Manual Typewriter Super Speed Made In Usa Vintage Corona Mini #3 1917 Folding Typewriter With CaseVintage Remington 5 Teaching TypewriterStromberg Carlson Candlestick Telephone,pre-dial,black & Brass,original, Nice !!Vintage 1931 Royal Portable Typewriter / Serial # P297583) Faux Alligator Case