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