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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Research Shows 63% of Puppeteers Double as Typewriter Salesmen in the 1870s

Let’s face it. There aren’t enough puppeteering jobs around, so most puppeteers cannot make a full time living doing puppeteering alone. These days, a puppeteer is usually also a puppet builder, an actor, an animator, or waiter on the side. Diversified, multiple streams of income is the way to go these days, but did you know that in the 1870s, the most popular side job for a puppeteer is typewriter salesman?

I was reading an article by Dr. Conroy Gibson, a professor of American Studies at Cambridge, and he had this fascinating find:

By going through census data from that period, we found a remarkable number of puppeteers selling typewriters door-to-door. They would show typewriters to housewives interested in getting a job doing secretarial work. And then they would encourage the potential clients not familiar with keyboard layout to first try typing words that can be spelled out using just the first row of keys of the typewriter with QWERTY layouts. A well-known one is TYPEWRITER, but there are also words like PUPPET and PUPPETEER that can be typed using only the first row. While the women tried out the new product, the salesman would keep the children occupied with puppets.

Try typing those words! Interesting, isn’t it?

I guess we are past the period of time where we sell typewriters door-to-door, and it’s quite a different world now. Imagine allowing someone into your home to sell you on something AND have them play with their kids today!

Interesting research nevertheless. To read the full text, go to their website by clicking here.

Comments

  1. April 1st, 2013 | 3:12 pm

    Haha, so isn’t selling apps sort of the same thing, in an abstract sort of way? 😀
    Michelle recently posted..Where Are the Healers? A LamentMy Profile

  2. April 1st, 2013 | 3:42 pm
  3. April 3rd, 2013 | 1:46 am

    Hi Kelvin,

    The world has change a lot since those days, and mostly because of technology, but it is always interesting to learn about how things used to be in the past, so we can analyze our own life and time. As a fortune cookie told me some time ago: “Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backwards”

    Thank you for the interesting info. :)

    Raul
    Alien Ghost recently posted..Aspie World 4 – Wrong PlanetMy Profile

  4. April 3rd, 2013 | 1:07 pm

    Just to clarify, this was posted on April 1st and isn’t a true story. :-)
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Research Shows 63% of Puppeteers Double as Typewriter Salesmen in the 1870sMy Profile

  5. April 4th, 2013 | 3:29 pm

    Okay, I can’t beat Michelle’s comment:~)p

    I did try typing the words…that’s interesting. I fell for this lock, stock and barrel.” You Goose…that’s not fair to put up this post with such an interesting story. You should have kept quiet and let us ramble on about the old days and the poor puppeteers having to sell typewriters door to door.

    This post will show who actually clicks on links. I didn’t and so I’m kind of happy you ‘fessed’ up.

    A great April Fool’s Day joke.
    Sara recently posted..The teller’s lore of the cellar’s doorMy Profile

  6. April 4th, 2013 | 4:02 pm

    I have always wanted to write up this story when I realized I could type “puppet” and “puppeteer” using just the first row. I guess I couldn’t help it since I type those words quite often. Hehe.

    I didn’t plan it out to be an April Fools thing though. I just sort of decided to on a whim. :-)
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Research Shows 63% of Puppeteers Double as Typewriter Salesmen in the 1870sMy Profile

  7. April 4th, 2013 | 5:10 pm

    Hey kelvin, I didn’t click on the link since I believed what you posted, and never related the date with the post, so there was no reason for me to doubt you. When I was a child there were people who worked sharpening knives. They used to go walking the streets and blowing a wistle that people could identify with them. Women came out of their houses with their knives for the man to sharpen them, and in the meantime it wasn’t strange that children played with the wistle. I sort of related this memory from my childhood with your story. LOL

    Raul
    Alien Ghost recently posted..Aspie World 4 – Wrong PlanetMy Profile

  8. April 4th, 2013 | 10:34 pm

    That’s really interesting!

    In Taiwan, there are people that would go around various streets and play this recording on a loudspeaker that basically just says “sharpening scissors, sharpening kitchen knives”. And then people would go and do so. Many snacks are also sold this way. There’s also metal recycling and window repairs done this way. They just announce over a loudspeaker and people come out for it, much like how ice cream trucks work in the U.S. :-)
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Research Shows 63% of Puppeteers Double as Typewriter Salesmen in the 1870sMy Profile

  9. Naomi
    February 17th, 2014 | 3:08 am

    LOL! Reading this a year too late, and I didn’t notice the date on the post. Went to click on the link and saw the URL… and then realised what it was. :)
    Love your sense of humour, I see your puns sometimes on twitter and enjoy a good laugh.

  10. February 17th, 2014 | 8:53 pm

    Too bad I am not on Twitter so much anymore…
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Merry Christmas! Deck the Halls!My Profile

  11. Naomi
    February 20th, 2014 | 5:10 am

    Me neither. Taking a break from all things social network-y.

  12. February 20th, 2014 | 11:46 pm

    I am on Facebook a lot though!
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Merry Christmas! Deck the Halls!My Profile

  13. Naomi
    February 24th, 2014 | 5:10 am

    That’s a pity. I don’t use FB at all :(

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