Today in Mashable I read about the end of an era, one with many memories for me. The last typewriter will roll off the assembly line in Mumbai, India. Godrej and Boyce has shut down their production lines. India had been one of the last bastions of the typewriter, but even there the addition of computers made the manual typewriter obsolete.
I had my first typewriter in Junior High School – a totally manual, non-correcting typewriter. I quickly learned the use of easy-erase typewriter paper. The only problem is that it tended to smear a lot, so it was hard to get a very clean looking paper. By college I had graduated to a portable electric typewriter with correction tape. Progress of sorts, but still no spell check, and doing footnotes was a real challenge. Writing a paper of the fly was not an option. The drill was – library, 3×5 cards, draft, final draft with footnotes, and final copy. Writing papers was hell.
In grad school I opted to get a Xerox, my Alma Mater Company, automatic typewriter to use in my MBA dissertation. A big move up, but still used large floppy disks, and the screen as very small. In 1980 I bought an Apple II computer, and my life changed forever.
As I have posted in the past a number of manual typewriters are still in using – mainly by younger hipsters who are in their nostalgic phases – with many more to come. For me, the passing of the typewriter is another of the signposts to the past, to a simpler time…what the hell am I talking about. Writing papers and research in the ‘stacks’ was never fun, and this has been written on my Mac with spell check. Life is good! Rest in peace my old trusty manual typewriter; you deserve your long earned rest.
Now just In: Never Mind – Gawker has dug into the story and found that there are still production lines in China, Japan and Indonesia making typewriters. The saga will live on for awhile longer I guess. They could be very helpful when the power goes out, or your batteries die, which mine do all the time.