Typewriters still exist after all

Good news for anyone who, like me, still harbors a possibly irrational fondness for arguably obsolete equipment:

It turns out the reports of the death of the typewriter have been greatly exaggerated.

The Indian newspaper Business Standard falsely claimed that Godrej, a company that is closing its typewriter factory, was “the last manufacturer of typewriters in the world.” They paint a picture of a world that has entirely moved on from typewriters, which have been replaced by PCs and printers.

But if you go on Amazon.com, and search for typewriter, you can see many brands available — Brother, Omega, Royal, Olivetti, IBM and Nakajima. Those typewriters are new, and built in factories somewhere, probably China. Despite the obvious falseness of the Standard‘s claim, the English-speaking world press has been actively parroting it without question. This is part of a widespread pattern in the US press of playing fast and loose with facts relating to technology in a way that they would not do in other fields.

Indian article makes false claim, world media repeats it without hesitation, fact checking

I did see the Godrej story making the rounds, and I thought it seemed kind of unlikely, and I didn’t really think too much more about it at the time — but I was very relieved to learn that it wasn’t true.

I learned to type at the age of six or seven on a real typwriter (dammit) — a manual typewriter, not one of those newfangled electrical ones.  It was huge and oily and black and heavy and each keystroke required a genuine effort from my tiny fingers, and I loved it enormously.  My handwriting was terrible (still is), and using the typewriter made me feel like a real writer, which I already knew I wanted to be.

I’m not quite enough of a masochist to want a manual typewriter again, but every now and then I do entertain the thought of treating myself to a new electric typewriter.  As much as I love and rely on the convenience of my little netbook, there’s really nothing like the tangible emotional feedback of stacking up finished pages next to you as you write.