Friday, August 11, 2006

Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec. 13, 1887.
Editor the Typewriter Operator.
In view of the large number of typewriter operators now in the country, the various kinds of typewriters in use, and the conflicting statements as to what speed can be and has been attained by different operators, and on different machines, it seems to me the question of speed on typewriters should, if possible, be determined in some way. To this end, therefore, I desire to make, through your valuable paper, the official organ of typewriting, the following announcement: -
I hereby challenge any one or more typewriter operators to a speed contest in typewriting, for a purse of not less than five hundred dollars, which shall be contributed pro rata by those competing, proper provision as to forfeits being made; to take place in the city of Chicago, or any city in the United States west of Chicago, at any time during the months of July or August, 1888; provided, that, so far as I am concerned, if it take place in Salt Lake City, Utah, the purse need not exceed fifty dollars, and the contest may take place at any time; the writing to consist of copying, for not less than two hours, of ordinary court proceedings, new to the operators; the writing to be done in full English longhand, on any machine having both capitals and small letters; and the contest to be decided by three competent and disinterested judges.
Any suggestions will be thankfully received.
F. E. McGurrin.

-- "Still Another Challenge", The Typewriter Operator, Vol.1, No.10 (January 1888), p.51.

January 1888 issue of The Typewriter Operator published Mr. Frank Edward McGurrin's letter to challenge to public on typing speed. His other letter was printed on February issue of The Typewriter Operator (Vol.1, No.11, p.56) and it was reprinted on May issue of The Cosmopolitan Shorthander (Vol.9, No.5, p.123). Then, June issue of The Cosmopolitan Shorthander published a letter of the acceptance:

To the Editor of the Cosmopolitan Shorthander, Toronto, Canada.
Dear Sir, - I have read the challenge published in the last number of your paper, issued by Mr. Frank McGurrin of Salt Lake City, and as you seem anxious that some one should accept this challenge, I wish hereby to signify my readiness to do so. Mr. McGurrin's challenge is in the main fair, still I wish to modify it as follows:
First, instead of making the test of one half hour's duration, I propose it be at least three hours.
Second, I would insist that the dictator be chosen by each contestant, and that the matter to be dictated be of a character that will secure a fair test of speed.
Third, I will under no circumstances consent that Messrs. Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict or any other manufacturers of writing machines shall become the stakeholders, or be in any way, directly or indirectly, connected with the test, since I propose that this shall be a fair and impartial test of speed.
If this be satisfactory to Mr. McGurrin, I stand ready to make the necessary deposit and proceed further with the preliminaries of the contest.
Very respectfully yours,
Louis Traub.
Longley's Shorthand and Typewriting Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio.
May 27th, 1888.

-- "The Challenge Accepted", The Cosmopolitan Shorthander, Vol.9, No.6 (June 1888), p.155.

On July 25, 1888, at Cincinnati, Mr. Frank Edward McGurrin and Mr. Louis Traub competed typing speed for $500. Mr. McGurrin operated Remington No.2 and Mr. Traub did Caligraph No.2. The ninety-minute competition was half from dictation and half from manuscript. Mr. McGurrin won the competition, writing 8709 words, while Mr. Traub reached 6938 words (cf. "The Question Settled", The Cosmopolitan Shorthander, Vol.9, No.8 (September 1888), pp.226-227).


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