Christopher Sholes
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Christopher Latham Sholes (1819 - 1890)

Christopher Latham Sholes
Born in Mooresburg, Montour County, Pennsylvania, USAmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1841 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at age 71 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, USAmap
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Profile last modified | Created 4 Mar 2009
This page has been accessed 14,828 times.


Notables Project
Christopher Sholes is Notable.

Parents - Orrin Sholes (1789-1866) & Catherine Cook (1788-1826)

Paternal Grandparents -Cyrus Sholes-4 & Bridget Latham

In the early 1860s, President Lincoln appointed Christopher Latham Sholes to serve as the customs collector for the port of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This position gave him sufficient leisure time to pursue a hobby, inventing.

With the help of two inventor friends, Sholes spent a few years building and patenting a machine for numbering the pages of books. The idea of a machine that would help people communicate with clarity must have appealed to Sholes. Many typing machines had come before.

In 1867, Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soulé invented the first practical mechanical typewriter machine. They had worked on it since 1866.

It took 52 attempts at the invention, but they were the first to succeed in making a practical, workable model.

In 1873 Remington Arms & Sons mass produced the Sholes & Glidden typewriter. Sholes finally sold out to Philo Remington for $12,000 in 1873.

In 1874, a Remington Model I sold for $125.

There was also the Sholes keyboard, called the QWERTY keyboard because of the ordering of the first six keys in the third row. On the original Sholes keyboard, there was no key for the number '1', because the inventors decided that the users could get by with the letter 'l'. There was no shift key, the first typewriters could only type upper case letters. The first shift key typewriter didn't appear on the market until 1878.

Research Notes / Discrepancies

  • His Find-a-Grave memorial gives a different birth location of: Columbia County, Pennsylvania. It also gives his wife's name as Mary jane McKinney and lists two of his children: Clarence Gordon Sholes and Louis C. Sholes.[1]


  1. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 12 June 2017), memorial #7656870 for Christopher Latham Sholes (1819 - 1890) - Find A Grave Memorial.

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Christopher by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Christopher:

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Connect to Wife at McKinney-6670
posted by Anon Langdale