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History of Court Reporters’ Favorite Tool

Litigation Support Since 1976

Learn More About the History of Court Reporters’ Favorite Tool: the Stenograph

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The Stenograph Shorthand Machine (1877)

Miles Bartholomew (nicknamed the “Father of the Stenograph”) invented the shorthand machine in 1877. On this machine, ten keys could be depressed one at a time to create a series of dots and dashes akin to Morse code.




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Anderson Shorthand Typewriter (1889)

Developed by George Kerr Anderson, this shorthand machine had a keyboard that allowed the user to press two or more keys at the same time. This typewriter used English characters instead of code, which allowed words and symbols to be written.






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Ireland Stenotype Shorthand Machine (1911)

The Universal Stenotype Company changed the game by creating a machine that was 40 pounds lighter than its predecessor. This stenograph had the first totally depressible keyboard, giving reporters the ability to write numbers and words phonetically with fewer strokes.






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Master Model Stenotype (1914)

This machine was next in line from the Universal Stenotype Company, and weighed six pounds instead of eleven. Unfortunately, this was the last machine created by Universal Stenotype Company, as it went bankrupt during World War I.





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1927 LaSalle Stenotype

This machine brought the two-spool ribbon system to life. While the machine did well, the Great Depression unfortunately made the company go under. The court reporting industry as a whole also experienced a dip until the end of the 1930’s.





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Stenograph Shorthand Machine

This machine was known for being reliable and quiet. The Secretarial Model of this machine used a single 11-inch ribbon and held 100 folds of paper. The Reporter model of this machine held 300. 






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Stenograph Data Writer (1963)

 Unlike previous models, this one encoded a magnetic tape with machine notes for computer transcription. Its unique, organ-type switches made for good transmission with minimum key pressure. It could be attached to a cable connected to a tape recorder. Cartridge was used by 1970, and cassettes were used by 1974.






1982 Stenograph Machine

This was the first machine to have a plastic casing, which made it more durable overall.




1987 SmartWriter

With computers becoming more and more popular, the SmartWriter was made with the ability to encode machine notes onto a floppy disk.




1992 Stenograph Stentura Series

The Stentura was the first stenograph that featured instant, realtime translation onto an LCD screen that could be shown either in English, or Steno-shorthand.







2001 élan Cybra

This state-of-the-art machine was paperless, inkless, ribbon-less, and greaseless. It was updated in 2006, to include an optional wireless feature and designed for realtime transfer.





2003 élan Mira Series

The Mira has an LCD screen that could be flipped upward for easier viewing. IT featured Audiosync® OTG – on the go!, a USB port for writing realtime, and a DB9 serial port for use with wireless Bluetooth.






2005 Stentura Protégé Student

This machine was designed specifically with students in mind. It featured a USB and serial connectivity, as well as optional wireless realtime.






2005 Stentura élan Mira Student

This adaptation was known as the “paperless writer for students.” It had all the bells and whistles as the professional version, but in a limited fashion at a student price.




2006 Stentura Fusion

The key feature of this machine is its ability to use paper, or to be paperless. It also included compatibility with SD cards, recording live testimony using AudioSync OTG, USB and DB9 ports, and battery status display.





2009 The Diamante

The Diamante’s TrueStroke® featured a vibrant flat-panel display, two SD cards ports, two USB ports, microphone and headset jacks for AudioSync, and optional Bluetooth for WiFi realtime translation.




2015 The Luminex

The Luminex features duel key channels keep keys in alignment and chrome plated key levers to reduce friction and provide smoother action. TrueStroke technology results in cleaner steno notes.

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