Alexis Typewriter

Alexis Typewriter

The Alexis is a linear index typewriter, the invention of James A. Wallace, of Alexis, IL.  It was officially named "THE ALEXIS TYPE-WRITER"  for which Wallace received United States Patent #423644 on March 18, 1890.  The Alexis measures 16+” wide, 6” deep and 5” tall.  Its extra wide base allows for a paper transport carrier to travel inside its body, across the entire writing line, similar to that of the extremely rare Boston typewriter.  The paper lays flat on the transport carrier as it moves horizontally across the writing line.  Characters are selected from a linear index at the top of the machine and printed as the operator presses a lever in the rear left corner sending a hammer above a rubber type plate into the desired character for printing.

A space lever is also positioned in the rear left corner, alongside the print lever. The Alexis prints both upper and lower case characters. In order to print in upper case, the operator would move and hold a spring loaded lever located on type plate.  This action shifts the type from lower to upper case. After printing an upper case character and released,  the lever would return the type to lower case. Inking was by an ink pad located on the deck beneath the type plate.

Another oddity built into this little beauty is the feed roller shaft with knurled knob that was used to advance the  paper vertically.  Measuring six inches long it protrudes out from the left side frame as the paper carrier travels across the writing line towards the right margin.  The extended length of the shaft provides access to the knob regardless of where the carrier is along the writing line.  Each Alexis had its serial number crudely scratched into the wood base (see image below).

All-in-all, using an Alexis typewriter was slow and awkward so it’s not surprising that this model did not succeed in the marketplace.  Being a failure with so few manufactured is what makes this odd little typewriter so desirable.   If you have or know of an Alexis typewriter,  I would like to hear from you. 


    Alexis Type-Writer Operationg Instructions Alexis typewriter with paper inserted Alexis Patent Date
    Alexis serial number



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