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Flashback Friday: Typewriters

by Sean P. Aune | July 19, 2013July 19, 2013 11:30 pm PST

The Kremlin is returning to the use of typewriters to increase security oddly enough, and that got me to reflecting on my days of using typewriters. Security be damned, the only thing I miss about typewriters is the sound.

My first typewriter was the one my mother had used in college. I don’t remember the model number, but I do remember it was a non-electric version and you had to be careful just how fast you typed as it was possible for the little swing arms to hit one another if you went too fast. It was a pain to use, but it was where I first started typing, and I loved that satisfying sound of the hammers hitting the paper.

I later moved to an electric typewriter that didn’t have the speed issue, and it still had that satisfying sound so it was totally okay in my book.

In the mid-1980s I started using computers and the typewriters went out the window for the most part. Every so often I would still have a use for one, but there were several things about using a typewriter that always annoyed me:

  • If after you removed the paper you found a typo, good luck ever making the word look correct again. Yes, you could use White Out once it came around, but lining everything up perfectly to reenter the word was nothing short of a miracle.
  • It never seemed to fail your ribbon would run out in the middle of the night when everything was closed and your project was due the next morning. Yes, printers run out of ink as well, but you have a better shot of finding a printer to use in the morning.
  • They were so freaking heavy. I don’t care how “portable anyone ever said a given model was, they were still heavy.

I say good riddance to the typewriter, except for the sound. And I know you can install it on your computer, but somehow it just never feels the same.

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...