Sunday, April 26, 2009

Frank R. McGurrin, a young law clerk in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1878 competed with his employer on the office's Model 1 Remington typewriter. ... By the end of the year he was able to type ninety words per minute---still considered an excellent speed now---from new copy without looking at the keyboard. ... In an 1888 contest in Cincinnati, he confronted Louis Traub, an agent for the Caligraph, possibly the best selling of the two-keyboard machines. McGurrin won decisively, achieving ninety-five words per minute from dictation and ninety-eight from copying against Traub's eighty-three and seventy-one. ... McGurrin continued on the exhibition circuit, promoting Remington as he achieved up to 125 words per minute. For all his prowess, McGurrin had no students and published no books. -- Edward Tenner: Our Own Devices, Alfred A. Knopf, New York (2003).

Frank R. McGurrin? Well, R seems wrong for the middle name of Mr. Frank Edward McGurrin. In fact Mr. McGurrin had several students. In 1890, for example, he taught typewriting in his shorthand college at the Progress Building, Salt Lake City (cf. "Practical Shorthand College", The Salt Lake Daily Tribune, Vol.38, No.97 (February 4, 1890), p.4, l.7). And Mr. McGurrin wrote at least one book, titled "Typewriter Speed and How to Acquire It" (J. F. McClain, New York, 1891) with five other leading typists at that time: Miss Mae E. Orr, Mr. Edward James Manning, Miss Emmeline S. Owen, Mr. Thomas W. Osborne, and Mr. George Alexander McBride. In this book Mr. McGurrin mentioned the way how he operated Remington without looking at the keyboard.


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