Typewriting service on board

  • Thread starter Christine Geyer
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Christine Geyer

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Hi all,

looking through the items of the Guernsey's auction in NY I came across this typewriting receipt

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=28267&item=2247194589&rd=1

Item description says "First-class passengers could write letters and then pay to have them typed onboard the ship." I have never heard to such a service being offered on Titanic before. Does anyone of you have further information about this? Who would've done the typing work? And where? Every single letter from onboard I have seen so far was handwritten. Have any such typed letters ever popped up afterwards?

Best regards
Christine
 

rob scott

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May 4, 2004
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well _that's_ and interesting one, new one on me .... it's too bad more folks couldn't 'a been doing *That instead of bogging down the 'poor pair' in the signal room Marconi-ing all those 'do you wish you were on this grand ship like us? say hi to mumsie for me' back to the city!
happy.gif

(I for one have *never seen the 'typist room' in photos... anywhere near the signal room? or the purser room? and never saw an artifact photo of the typewriter either... )
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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At least one printed receipt form for 'typewriting charges' (unfortunately blank) has survived. It is headed RMS Titanic and there is a space for a signature on behalf of Ismay, Imrie & Co. Letters were charged at one shilling or 25 cents, folio documents twopence halfpenny or 5 cents per 100 words. Requests for typewriting would have been made at the Purser's counter. George Taylor from Brighton (who did not survive) was employed as the 'stenographer'. I imagine that George worked from a desk in the Inquiry Office, or possibly the small room next to the telephone exchange nearby.
 
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Christine Geyer

Guest
Wow, Bob, that is great new information!! Thanks so much. I had never heard about this before. Is it known if that service was accessed a lot? Like I said before, the only letters from board the Titanic were the handwritten ones. I would also imagine that he used other stationary than the passengers had for their self-written letters.

Best regards
(and I'm blushed ashamed cause I still owe you an email for SUCH a long time now...
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)

Christine
 

Bob Godfrey

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Nov 22, 2002
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This is another reminder that Titanic was a floating hotel. In New York, public stenographers were employed by many large hotels as a service to guests, but as usual the charges were generally rather lower than those afloat (15c for a dictated letter was typical). This service was mainly intended for business correspondence, as typewritten letters were regarded as too impersonal for family or friends. I would imagine that the typist on board spent most of his time working on documents for the Purser rather than the passengers. I have an idea in the back of my mind that Colonel Gracie might have made use of the service, but maybe my memory is playing tricks.

Ah, the 'nurse' photo. Don't rap your knuckles for keeping me waiting - just use them to type out that reply!
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