Jamie Fisher: The Pursuit of a Chinese Typewriter

The problem was Qwerty, not China, where moveable type predated Gutenberg by several centuries. But the typewriter was developed for the West by the West, during a period in which China was decidedly closed off, and by the time typewriters had become a common feature of commercial life, their form was relatively fixed. At the turn of the 20th century, the missionary inventors trying for a Siamese typewriter simply lopped off two letters of the Siamese alphabet, like Cinderella’s stepsisters severing the offending toe to make the foot fit the slipper.