© System Source

Graphotype Keyboard-Electric Model 6341

Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio
mid-1930s – 1950s
Musicians Association of Metropolitan Baltimore, Maryland
The Graphotype Keyboard-Electric Model 6341 was one model within the very popular class of 6300 Graphotypes made by the Addressograph-Multigraph Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio. The 6300 series was manufactured from the mid-1930s – 1950s and remained in popular use until the 1980s. There were thousands of variations made within this series, varying in embossing and printing techniques. Although, all the main features were interchangeable, pre-made, and assembled, each Graphotype was uniquely configured in the factory for each specific order. The Graphotype’s purpose was to imprint by embossing metal plates for the Addressograph to transfer and print the imprinted information on the metal cards onto mailing lists, invoices, etc. In addition, the Graphotype was known to be used for making military identification tags (aka dog-tags) in WWII and data plates for electronic motors.

Unlike the previous generations, this Graphotype selects and embosses characters by simply pressing a key on the built-in keyboard like one would a typewriter. One key cannot be pressed at the same time and the strokes have a particular timing or rhythm. If the strokes are ill-timed or keys are pressed simultaneously, a safety device kicks in and prevents jamming. There are 44 characters on the keyboard, including uppercase letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.

Yet, this particular Graphotype Keyboard-Electric Model 6341 was donated and used by the Musicians Association of Metropolitan Baltimore, Maryland. Their secretary, who used this machine for mailing lists, says that the Graphotype and Addressograph process may still be faster than printing and snickering envelopes by hand.