Reports that the world’s last manufacturer of typewriters has closed its final production plant should come as no surprise. They seem to be about to follow the instamatic camera, phone box and the cassette Walkman into obsolescence. (Though there still appears to be some hope as this story indicates) That’s sad, not suprising, but sad nonetheless. For all the hassle of correcting mistakes, of changing ribbons and lining up carbon copy paper, feeding in individual sheets of paper and keys jamming, I’m going to miss them. I’ve still got my last typewriter in my loft. One that boasted it was a word processor – it could contain an entire side of A4 copy in its tiny memory. It’s LCD screen allowing you to view one line at a time. My first was an Olivetti Linea – a giant hunk of grey metal. The keyboard was arranged in the same way as a theatre-seating plan. Its keys took force to depress, you felt like you were having a workout every time you used it. Typewriters were one of the reasons I wanted to be a journalist. Newsrooms buzzed with sound, punctuated with the whirring ping of the carriage return. All the images of all the great writers you admired were in front of the typewriter Woodward and Bernstein, Lou Grant, My Girl Friday – all had the background clickety-clack soundtrack of the typewriter. I used to have an emotional attachment to my typewriter, it had soul in a way that modern PCs just don’t.
But as with the Dodo and the dinosaur, it’s time has appeared to have come, but instead of ending up as a museum exhibit they’ll live on thanks to cool hacks like this.