from Piera Bollito to Dalia

Until about 10,000 years ago, man was organized in nomadic tribes, within which women dominated, with their creative power and the growth of offspring. The man devoted himself to the collection of herbs, natural fruits and hunting.

We can define them tribes ruled by matriarchy primarily aimed at survival and growth of new members, which gave strength and importance to the tribe itself. But in time society organized into states produces struggles and wars of supremacy, and the man with his strength also assumes the dominion over women.

The Middle Ages represent the darkest period in this respect: the continuous inventions (mainly by men) mark an ever-deepening rift between man and woman. Then the turning point: in the late 19th century it comes the typewriter that overturns the situation by offering space to womeneager to demonstrate their abilities, even outside the home.

The role of women in offices to support men has only been understood since the late eighteenth century. The first to do so was the journalist and then US Senator, Christopher Lathan Sholes. Contrary to his expectations, the operation was very difficult and required the production and registration of over thirty models before a good result was obtained around 1880 with the experimentation of a machine with an invisible stop by the operator, called The calligrapher and produced in New York.

But who was able to test his models, given that typists did not yet exist? Mr. Sholes had a young daughter of about eighteen named Lilly who, called to use the prototypes designed by his father, at once showed marked dexterity and great attention.

Lilly was the first typist in history and was also the woman who introduced the female element to offices. Thus was born in the United States the new profession of typist and it spreads rapidly with the same rapidity as the typewriter confirmation, which has become an indispensable tool in written communication and in contracts. It appears that in 1890, before his death, Sholes stated:

I feel I have done something for women who have always had to work so hard. The typewriter will allow them to earn a living more easily“.

If typewriters for us today are nothing more than antiques that make the hearts of those nostalgic for a bygone era vibrate, it cannot be denied that their invention led to innovation in various areas of women’s lives and started a revolution that somehow still exerting its effects. .

Just think that the first competition by which women were admitted to the railways was for the qualification of “assistant shorthand typists” in 1961 (almost all women participated). Before then, the women present had been employed during the war, mainly because they were orphans or widows of railway workers.

In 2012, the French film was released in cinemas Everyone loves Rose. It takes place in 1958 and tells the story of Rose Pamphylea beautiful girl with secretarial ambitions and with the innate talent to be able to type at such a speed that she becomes a national machinist.

Rose is a fictional character, but the context of the writing challenges is completely realistic. These competitions began to be organized in the last decades of the nineteenth century in America, from 1900 also in Italy, and had all the features of more traditional sports competitions.

Since secretarial work was usually entrusted to the female sex, the participants were mostly women. There was no shortage of men, but perhaps stunned by too much estrogen surrounding them, they were mercilessly torn apart by their colleagues in skirts and hats.

Turin had its Rose: Piera Bollito, born in 1905. He was able to fly his fingers across the keyboard at a speed of 600 strokes per minute. The competition took place on October 3, 1936 at the Ambrosio cinema in Turin: it was required in six minutes to copy the preface written by Mussolini to the book by Marshal Emilio De Bono about the war in Ethiopia. Piera Bollito, the “Blonde head that spun like lightning”, as a chronicler described it, he took part and arrived first out of a total of 135 participants. The prize was a brand new Olivetti portable typewriter.

But it is not enough for women to be faster than men to type with the keyboard. Women are looking for ways to get even faster with each other too. So in 1969 a woman was called Irvine Dodds patents a typewriter keyboard comprising a plurality of rows of keys, with two elongated typewriter mechanism drive rods located in front of the keyboard keys. The first bar extended at least part of the width of the keyboard and the second for the other half. One rod operated a slotting mechanism and the other operated a carriage return.

Fingers (as women) they have a portentous memory, the important thing is to give them the opportunity to develop it. The girl with the typewriter, Desy Icardi, 2020.

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