"Over the many years of my study of typewriter history, I've found that most of the major inventors have had their stories written, at least to some degree.
However, a few of the more interesting and somewhat successful ones like John Newton Williams seem to have escaped detection altogether.
Almost nothing is known about this prolific genius inventor. That is …. up until now ….
I sincerely hope that you enjoy learning about the life and times of this true American pioneer.
This is the untold story … of John Newton Williams.
This tale begins almost 20 years ago. In a typewriter history book titled "Office Machine Technical Manual" by C. Leroy "Rocky" Jones. I was able to see my first picture of the Williams Typewriter. It sure looked different than most typewriters that I was familiar with.
One book described it like this: the typebars on the Williams lay flat on the same horizontal plane. In operation, the bars struck with a kind of jump through an arc to the printing point on the platen. I guess that is why it is sometimes referred to as the "grasshopper" movement.
It was visible writing to a degree, with the previous lines of typing on a sheet of paper-except for the line immediately in process – disappearing under the carriage into a circular "basket".
Some few years later (about 1987) I was able to examine my first 'live' model when I met with fellow typewriter collector Ed Peters of New Holland, PA. He was amused by my amazement with the movement of the typebars and he explained to me (a newer collector at that time) that they were known as the "grasshopper" machines. This was due to the fact that when observed, the typebars move like that of the legs of a grasshopper.
Of course, I told Ed that someday I hoped that I would own one of these anomalies, which are today desirable collector items. He told me "not to worry … someday one will cone along". And he was right!"