The machine was of a rectangular wooden box 12 inches wide, 12 inches high, and 18 inches long. It mechanically worked by depressing a rotating lever so that an inked letter made contact with paper. A gauge that was designed in a circular clock-wise fashion on the front of the box indicated the number of lines typed on the blank piece of paper that was up to 15 inches in length. The paper was attached to a velvet-like material belt. The belt rotated when the impression lever was depressed.
The patent describes Burt’s machine as having a set of typeface characters that were arranged on the under side of a set of parts that had a lever pivoted to swing vertically and horizontally. The desired typeface character is brought to the printing point by moving this lever horizontally to a position over the same character in the index, and the impression on the paper is made by then depressing the lever. Different styles of typeface characters could be used. They were arranged in two rows on a lever. The rows of typeface characters could be shifted on the lever to bring either one to the printing point. The paper was carried in an endless band which traveled crosswise of the machine and the band was moved for letter space by the impression lever every time the lever is depressed to print. The line space was made by shifting the frame carrying the printing mechanism toward the front or rear of the machine, with the paper remaining stationary. Ink-pads were located at each side of the impression point, and all the typeface characters, except the one in the printing position, were inked every time the impression lever was depressed. Upper and lower case typeface letters could be used. A dial was provided which indicated the length of paper (inches) which had passed the printing point in printing each line. The operator knew the width of the paper being used each time. There was a stop printing indicator for end of the line.