Here's Dr. Harry F. Olson, director of the Acoustical and Electromagnetical Laboratory of RCA, with his newly patented phonetic typewriter. Looking very similar to the Machine That Types What Is Spoken To It of 1913, Olson's typewriter took dictation through a microphone and turned it into type via what the New York Times called a "speech-analysis mechanism." Click through for a closer look at this grandparent of voice-recognition technology.

A code stored in the machine is linked to the keys of the typewriter. The machine listens to each sound spoken into the microphone, codes it, and when it matches any symbol in the stored code the corresponding keys are struck.

Like John B. Flowers's 1913 effort, Olson's machine produced phonetic type. One of the patents gave this example: "The ultimit object is too develup a tipriter which tips in response too words spoken intoo a mikrophone ..." You get the picture. Interestingly, one of the first imagined practical uses for Olson's machine was for the supermarket, where a "checker might speak numbers into the cash register, keeping his hands free for packages."