The History of Court Reporters’ Favorite Tool

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The Stenograph Shorthand Machine (1877)

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The proclaimed “Father of the Stenograph,” Miles Bartholomew, invented the first shorthand machine in 1877. This was the first machine to be regularly used in the court reporting field, and was used by reporters well into the 1930’s. Ten keys could be depressed one at a time to create a series of dots and dashes similar to Morse code.

Anderson Shorthand Typewriter (1889)

Image titleThis shorthand machine, created by George Kerr Anderson, was equip with the first keyboard that allowed two or more of its keys to be pressed at the same time. Unlike Bartholomew’s machine, this typewriter used English characters instead of code, which allowed words and symbols to be written.

Ireland Stenotype Shorthand Machine (1911)

Image titleThe Universal Stenotype Company invented a machine a whole 40 pounds lighter than its predecessor. This was the first stenograph with a totally depressible keyboard, allowing reporters the ability to write numbers and words phonetically with fewer strokes. Business colleges began including instruction of this stenograph in their curriculums.




Master Model Stenotype (1914)

Image title While the Universal Stenotype Company went bankrupt during World War I, they were able to put out one more gem. This machine had all the bells and whistles, and only weighed six pounds instead of eleven.

1927 LaSalle Stenotype

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The “Master Model Four” used a two-spool ribbon system. The Great Depression cut its life short. The court reporting suffered as well, struggling until the end of the 1930’s.



Stenograph Shorthand Machine

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The Secretarial Model used a single 11-inch ribbon and held 100 folds of paper, while the Reporter model held 300. It was known for its dependability and quiet.




Stenograph Data Writer (1963)

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This model encoded a magnetic tape with machine notes for computer transcription and organ-type switches that assured good transmission with minimum key pressure. In 1963 it could be connected to a cable attached to a tape recorder. By 1970, cartridge could be utilized, and by 1974 cassettes were used instead.




1982 Stenograph Machine

This iteration was the first to have a plastic shell, or casing, which made the machine more durable.

1987 SmartWriter

Now in the emerging digital age, the SmartWriter had the ability to encode machine notes on a floppy disk– state-of-the-art technology for its time.

1992 Stenograph Stentura Series

The Stentura was the first machine that featured instantaneous, realtime translation (to English or Steno) onto an LCD screen.

 2001 élan Cybra

The élan Cybra was paperless, inkless, ribbon-less, and greaseless.  In 2006, a new version was introduced that included a wireless feature, and was specifically designed for realtime reporting. It was all important for transcriptionists, captioners, and CART reporters.





2003 élan Mira Series

The Mira added a flip LCD screen for easier viewing. It featured Audiosync® OTG – on the go!, a USB port for writing realtime, and a DB9 serial port wireless Bluetooth. This quickly became the new standard for court reporting.




2005 Stentura Protégé Student

The Stentura Protégé was designed specifically for students. It features a USB and serial connectivity, as well as optional wireless realtime.


2005 Stentura élan Mira Student

This machine was also designed students with students in mind, and was known as the “paperless writer for students.” It features the same technology 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 be paperless. Other improvements include compatibility with SD cards, recording live testimony using AudioSync OTG, USB ports, DB9 ports, and battery status display.





2009 The Diamante

The Diamante’s TrueStroke® technology was far more advanced any other steno-machines for speed and accuracy. It features a vibrant flat-panel display, two SD cards slots, two USB ports, microphone and headset jacks for AudioSync, and optional Bluetooth or WiFi realtime translation.



2015 The Luminex

The Luminex features the latest technology and software. Duel key channels keep keys in alignment, and chrome plated key levers reduce friction and provide smoother action.

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