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Early Office Museum

McCann Megagraph, 1898

The McCann Megagraph Co. advertised this machine as The Largest Typewriter in the World.  
The Megagraph is discussed below the image, which comes from an 1898 exhibition broadside.




According to the 1898 broadside that was distributed at the Mechanics Fair, Boston, where the Megagraph was exhibited from Oct. 10 to Dec. 3, 1898:

"Stands 6 feet high, is 5 feet 10 inches long and 40 inches wide.  It weighs about 400 lbs.  The Megagraph, like the typewriter, sets its own type at one and the same operation of printing, doing its work in a manner equal to letter press printing.  For displayed printing, on paper or cardboard, every man is his own printer. For years the enterprising business public has felt the need of some device whereby bulletins, price lists and other matter printed in large type could be produced with neatness and dispatch.  What the typewriter has done in the domain of correspondence, that the Megagraph is destined to do in the realm of bulletin advertising.  With the advent of the Megagraph will disappear the ungraceful, badly aligned, unevenly spaced and generally hideous brush or hand printed bulletin work which now so frequently disfigures our public thoroughfares.  The field is ready for 8000 newspaper bulletin alone."

The US Patent Office issued Patent No. 616,233 for a "Machine for Printing Bulletins, Posters, etc.," on Dec. 20 1898,
to George S Heath, Revere, MA, and Melvin L Severy, Arlington, MA, who assigned the patent to the McCann Megagraph Co., Kittery, ME.  The application for the patent was filed July 2, 1897.  According to the patent, "This invention relates to a machine for the successive and individual printing in series of the large letters or other characters employed in bulletins, placards, and like productions designed to be posted in public places to be read at a distance--as, for example, the bulletins placed in front of newspaper offices."  The patent drawings correspond to the machine pictured above.  One of the patent drawings is provided below because it shows the position of the poster during the typing operation.

McCann_Megagraph_illustration_US_Pat_616233_Dec_20_1898.jpg (165360 bytes)

Maine and Massachusetts reported that the McCann Magagraph Co. paid corportion fees and taxes of various types during 1897-1902.  

For further information:

G. C. Marnes, The History of the Typewriter, which discusses the McCann Megagraph, p. 281.

D.P. Post, Collector's Guide to Antique Typewriters, 1981, which refers to the McCann Megagraph.

 

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