October 29, 2022 | Last updated Aug 25, 2023

W. A. Fowler and The Typemusic Company

I recently ran across a few items in a manuscript collection relating to The Typemusic Company of Lincoln. Apparently Mr. W. A. Fowler invented and marketed a typewriter used for typing up musical compositions. He sold his invention through The Typemusic Company. The few advertising/marketing items we have show that he had “offices” in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Los Angeles, California.


Image of a Typemusic typewriter (RG5696) (Top Right)



Advertisement for The Typemusic (RG5696) (Bottom Right)

Doing a search through old Lincoln city directories, I discovered that William Arthur Fowler was the pastor at Havelock Methodist Episcopal Church in 1936 and 1937. From 1938-1940 he is listed as a salesman for Remington Rand, Inc., which was a typewriter dealer. There is no listing for William A. Fowler in the city directories after 1940. There was no listing in the city directories for “The Typemusic Company,” so it seems likely that Mr. Fowler developed the Typemusic machine while working as a typewriter salesman and then probably sold them out of his home. It’s unclear whether he really did have someone (a friend or family member) selling the machines in Los Angeles, or if that was just a marketing ploy.


Family portrait of W. A. Fowler with his wife and children (RG5696) (Right).

This song book from Nebraska Wesleyan’s Golden Jubilee shows that it was produced using The Typemusic, and the advertising section in the back contains an ad for The Typemusic Company.


Song book from the Nebraska Wesleyan Golden Jubilee (Right).


The Typemusic Company advertisement (RG5696)

Although we don’t know for sure what happened to Mr. Fowler after 1940, another item in the collection may shed some light on the matter. There is a catalog/advertisement for “Typemusic, Inc.” in Chicago, Illinois dating from 1948. It seems likely that Mr. Fowler moved to Chicago and started his business there. We don’t happen to have a Typemusic machine in our museum collections. So, if you have one, or if you have any other information about The Typemusic Company or Mr. William A. Fowler, I would love to hear from you!





-Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

The Blacksmith Shop

The Blacksmith Shop

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Fred Astaire’s Omaha Origins

Fred Astaire’s Omaha Origins

How much is a teacher worth? What Nebraska paid teachers in the 1920s

How much is a teacher worth? What Nebraska paid teachers in the 1920s

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.