Index typewriters were generally produced as cheap
alternatives for expensive keyboard machines. They were meant for
the home market and small offices.
The first one to be launched was the Hall in 1881.
It was a highly successful machine that stayed in production until
well into the 1890s. It was a very solid machine, as was the Mignon,
the demise of which marked the end of the index typewriter as a
machine for professional use in the 1930s.
Many other index writers were introduced more or less
successfully in the late 19th and early 20th century. Some were
toys. Some were made for home use. Some were very cleverly designed.
Many were just cheap and barely useful.