Looking back on Typewriters

Order_Entry_Dept_Sears_Roebuck__Co_Chicago_c._1913_NMAHFrom the old muneems (old office employees) writing each and every word of any form of official correspondence to the Mac laden office tables, the world has come a long way. Literally speaking a typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical machine for writing in characters similar to those produced by printer’s movable type by means of keyboard-operated types striking a ribbon to transfer ink or carbon impressions onto paper. Sounds boring, right? As mundane and bleak the definition may sound, the invention was a boon to all forms of industries. Post its invention, typewriters quickly became indispensable.

NoiselessTypewriterCompany-300x171You must be wondering what followed this marvellous invention. The inception of this sorcerous device saw the dawn of the era which belonged to a throng of typewriting employees. A new set of jobs were created. A nation’s technological advancement seemed to be judged by its ability to produce and use typewriters. This statement became apparent when the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru congratulated Adi Godrej for taking India to the league of technologically advanced nations. They slowly became a sign of respect among the working class.

Amusingly enough Bollywood movies of late 70’s delineated every rich ideal “educated” hero with an office  which was HartfordTypewriterFactory-300x198stocked with rows typist girls (and the occasional male) who rise up to the boss whenever he walked in! There is no definite answer as to why and when the typewriters actually phased out.  Was it with the introduction of cyclostyle machines which could make more copies – around 20 compared to the maximum 4 copies of the carbon papered original? Or was it with the advent of electronic type writers – where you can have separate discs for different fonts, you can erase wrongly punched keys before actual typing? Many believe the provenance of the computer was the final nail in the coffin.

Though the typewriters maybe dead their allure isn’t. A writer is often seen ferociously typing away at his typewriter (refer: Hank Moody, Californication). The absence of spellchecking ensured that nothing interfered with your creativity. It also
improved the typist’s mental ability. How, you ask? Being able to alter work easily tends to make us lazy. So god bless the typewriter. If you are an employer who wishes to extract the most out of his workers, the loud typewriter noises increases office productivity by ensuring the workers don’t drift off to sleep. Its common knowledge that chicks dig men who are acquainted with the use of the typewriter. Though it was very heavy, noisy, stressful machine for the fingers, it served its cause during its life cycle all around the world. Let’s salute the warrior!


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