As with all his other compositions, Leroy Anderson wrote The Typewriter for orchestra, completing the work on October 9, 1950. The Typewriter received its first performance when Leroy Anderson conducted his short piece (only one minute and forty-five seconds) for a Decca Records recording session on September 8, 1953. Mills Music published the orchestral version in 1953. Soon after a band arrangement by Fred Werle was also published.
The Typewriter is used as a theme for numerous radio programs and some television shows. The 1963 film "Who's Minding the Store?" features Jerry Lewis pantomiming playing the typewriter part in mid-air. Candid Camera, a television show from the 60's, ran a humorous feature of novice typists in a typing class to the music of "The Typewriter".
The Typewriter has been recorded by many artists, including: Arthur Fiedler with the Boston Pops, guitarist Alan Hanlon, Spike Jones, Frederick Fennell with the Eastman Orchestra and also with the Tokyo Wind Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin with the St Louis Symphony, Pinchas Steinberg with the Cologne Radio Orchestra, pianist Marco Rizo, and the 101 Strings.
Notable soloists on the Typewriter have included Seiji Ozawa, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Ozawa performed this piece with Boston Pops conductor John Williams in a 1998 televised fund-raising concert on Boston's WCVB-TV. Ozawa appeared in the traditional Boston Pops "Typewriter outfit" - green visor cap and a big stogie! The rock group Aerosmith's lead singer Steve Tyler was a soloist in a special 1999 Boston Pops concert. Leonard Slatkin took his turn as the soloist when he performed in a 1999 New Year's Eve concert with Murray Sidlin conducting the National Symphony Orchestra. They displayed a banner that proclaimed the solo "instrument" was a "Baldway". In Winterthur, Switzerland, conductor Reto Parolari rigged his typewriter so that one person can play all the parts - keys, bell and carriage return - and uses heavy card stock for his "letter".