Music Writer

About The Music Writer (1941)

(Not to be confused with the Musicwriter.)

The Music Writer was invented in 1941 by Armando Dal Molin (an engineer and musician) and was adapted from a standard Underwood typewriter. It was patented in 1945 in Italy and 1951 in the United States (see patent). It was, however, being used before it was patented. The inventor claims that it was the first XY machine used and sold commercially for music typing in the USA. It was brought to the US in 1946 and about 50 machines were built. Dal Molin even set up a studio to help demonstrate the capabilities of the Music Writer. The demonstration was successful enough that he decided to give up the idea of manufacturing the Music Writer and instead began to engrave music for publication. As a result, manufacturing stopped in 1950.

In the early 1950s, the Music Writer was modified to operate electrically and a paper tape punch was attached to provide digitized spacing and line justification.

Dal Molin learned how to engrave music by carefully studying European manuscripts. Through his music business, Music Typographers, he engraved music for major publishing companies in New York. Other music engravings included hymnals, sheet music, orchestral scores, instruction books, band and choral music, everything from opera to rock and roll.

From Popular Science, February 1949 issue:

Composers Now Can Type

Their Own Music
Music can now be types as easily as a business letter. The Music WriterⓉ types standard musical notes and symbols on blank paper. A sample of its work is shown below.

The five-line staff is made first by repeatedly hitting the staff key until the width of the paper is covered, just as a single line is made on an ordinary typewriter. The carriage is then returned to the right-hand side of the machine – without spacing the paper up – and the notes and symbols added.

To do this, the note is first struck on the lower, pianolike keyboard, just as if you were playing it on the piano. This aligns the notes in the correct vertical position by shifting the whole type basket. Then the piano key is held down while the key for the proper note symbol is struck on the typewriter keyboard above.

The Music Writer covers a three-octave range without moving the paper up or down. To transpose automatically, the platen may be turned to print the notes that much above or below their normal position.

The Music Writer was invented by an Italian musician-engineer, Armando Dal Molin, now arranging for its manufacture.

Music Writer
Music Writer
Music typed with the Music Writer
Music typed with the Music Writer