Exhibition National Museum of Scotland

The Typewriter Revolution

24 Jul 2021 - 17 Apr 2022

Exhibition Gallery 2, Level 3

Free with pre-booked museum entry

Examine the social and technological impact of typewriters over more than 100 years in this free exhibition.

Chart the development of these iconic machines, from early prototypes to electronic versions, and explore their role in society, the arts and popular culture through the personal stories of those who designed, made and used them.  

Drawing on our outstanding typewriter collection, the exhibition features a range of machines including an 1876 Sholes and Glidden typewriter which was the first to have a QWERTY keyboard, a 1950s electric machine used by Whisky Galore author Sir Compton Mackenzie, and the 1970s design icon, the Olivetti Valentine.

Colour photograph of a large black typewriter with Underwood written across it.

Underwood No. 5 typewriter, invented by F.X. Wagner and manufactured USA (1904).

Colour photo of a mushroom coloured Olivetti Lettera 22 typewriter.

Lettera 22 portable typewriter by Olivetti, Glasgow (c. 1951–1955).

Colour photo of an early typewriter without a keyboard.

Columbia typewriter (c. 1880).

Colour photo of a large black Electromatic typewriter.

Electromatic electric typewriter by International Business Machine Corporation. Manufactured Rochester, New York (1936).

Header image: Lexikon 80 typewriter manufactured by British Olivetti in Glasgow (c. 1956).

Getting here

Plan your visit to National Museum of Scotland.


National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street


Map and directions


We want everyone who comes to our museums to enjoy their time with us and make the most of their visit. 


  • There is level access to the Museum via the main doors to the Entrance Hall on Chambers Street and the Tower entrance at the corner of Chambers Street and George IV Bridge. 
  • Lifts are available to all floors and accessible toilets are available on most floors, as well as a Changing Places (U) toilet in the Entrance Hall on Level 0.
  • There is an induction loop in the Auditorium.
  • Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other recognised assistance dogs are admitted.


Find out more about our access information.

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