January 28, 2012

The Permanency of Typewritten Records, 1899

From the Omaha Daily Bee on July 23, 1899:

Typewritten Records.

The permanency of typewritten records is a subject of no little importance says the Albany Law Journal, and it is worthy of note that a series of experiments is being conducted in Boston with a view of establishing the relative value of the leading brands of typewriter ribbons.  Robert T. Swan, the state commissioner of public records for the state of Massachusetts, is doing some good work in this direction.  He finds that of the different colors used for typewriter ribbons, the red, green, blue and purple are not permanent, black being the only one that will stand the test to which he subjects the writing.

The legislature of Massachusetts, which recently adjourned, passed an act permitting typewritten records to be accepted as official when approved by the commissioner of public records, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey having previously taken similar action.  In other words, no such records will be accepted unless the materials used are up to the standard and the commissioner is expressly authorized by the statute referred to withdraw his approval at any time when he shall find that the articles used fall below such standard.  This is a very important matter which should be acted upon in every state, for the fading of public records so as to become illegible is something that ought to be carefully provided against, otherwise it were much better to keep in force the provision that legal records shall be written only with pen and ink.

It is possible, we think, to produce typewritten records that are quite as permanent as any produced by writing with a pen and in view of the greater legibility of the former, as well as their economy of production, it is desirable that this should be done.  While the states generally have no official corresponding to the commissioner of public records in Massachusetts, it out to be made somebody's business to supervise the matter of permanency of public records.

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