A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical or electronic device for making text documents on paper. It is now largely obsolete, having been widely replaced by the personal computer and printer.
A typewriter has a keyboard, with keys for the characters in its font. The method by which the typewriter actually marks the paper now varies as greatly as types of printers do, but until the end of the 20th century was by impact of a metal (or, later, metallized plastic) type element against an "inked" ribbon in front of the paper, the same way carbon paper worked.
The typewriter was invented in 1867 by Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden, and Samual W. Soule. The patent was sold for $12,000 to a couple of entrepreneurs who made an agreement with E. Remington and Sons (then famous as a manufacturer of sewing machines), to commercialize what was known as the Sholes and Gliden Type-Writer. Remington started production of the first practical typewriter on March 1, 1873 in Ilion, New York.
In the original design style, now known as a "mechanical" or "manual" typewriter, each key was attached to a typebar that had the corresponding letter molded into its other end. When a key was struck briskly and firmly, the typebar hit a ribbon (usually made of inked fabric) stretched in front of a cylindrical platen that moved back and forth. The paper was rolled around the platen which was rotated by a lever (the "carriage return" lever at the far left) to each new line of text. (Some typewriters used ribbons that were inked in black and red, each a stripe half the width and the entire length of the ribbon, and there was a lever to switch between them, for typing bookkeeping entries, where negative amounts had to be in red.)
With the proliferation of the personal computer, typewriters have faded into near-obscurity and are now used mainly by people without access to, or the training to use, a computer and for specialized applications, such as filling out forms.
The 1874 Sholes & Glidden typewriters established the QWERTY layout for the letter keys that is used in virtually all computer and other keyboards nowadays. This layout of keys has been adopted as the de facto standard for English-language keyboards. Other nations using the Latin alphabet use variants of the QWERTY layouts, for example the French AZERTY layout.
Radically different layouts such as the Dvorak keyboard have been proposed but have not been able to displace the QWERTY layout, despite the advantages claimed by their proponents.