James Densmore

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James Densmore
James Densmore engraving.jpg
Born(1820-02-03)February 3, 1820[1]
Moscow, New York, United States
DiedSeptember 16, 1889(1889-09-16) (aged 69)[1]
Brooklyn, New York, United States

James Densmore (February 3, 1820 - September 16, 1889) was an American businessman, inventor and vegetarian. He was a business associate of Christopher Sholes, who along with Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule helped contribute to inventing one of the first practical typewriters at a machine shop located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[2]

It was believed that Densmore had suggested splitting up commonly used letter combinations in order to solve a jamming problem, but called in question.[3] This concept was later refined by Sholes and became known as the QWERTY key layout.

Densmore was a militant vegetarian. His diet consisted of mostly raw apples.[4] His brother was physician Emmet Densmore.[5]


  1. ^ a b Johnson
  2. ^ Invention of the Typewriter, Wisconsin Historical Marker, Retrieved May 11, 2008.
  3. ^ Koichi and Motoko Yasuoka: On the Prehistory of QWERTY, ZINBUN, No.42 (March 2011), pp.161-174.
  4. ^ Anonymous. (1923). Story of the Typewriter, 1873-1923. Herkimer County Historical Society. p. 38
  5. ^ Guinn, James Miller. (1902). Historical and Biographical Record of Southern California. Chapman Publishing Company. pp. 1216-1217


  • Johnson, Rossiter, et al. (1904). The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. The Biographical Society