Type-In’s

A mother and her children were at home, up in their attic, doing some cleaning.  While they were there, the kids uncovered an old manual typewriter and asked, “Hey Mom, what’s this?”  “Oh, that’s a typewriter,”she replied, thinking that would satisfy their curiosity.  “Well what does it do?” they inquired.  “I’ll show you,” she said, and returned with a blank piece of paper which she then rolled into the machine and began striking the keys, leaving black letters of print on the page.  “Wow!” the kids exclaimed, “that’s really cool, but where do you plug it in?”  “There’s no plug, it doesn’t need one,” she replied.  “Then where do you put the batteries?” they persisted. “It doesn’t need batteries either,” she continued. “Wow! That is so cool!  Someone should have invented this thing a long time ago!”

Well, a long time ago someone did invent the typewriter. It was newspaper reporter Christopher Sholes who was issued the initial patent in1867, and then Remington Manufacturing was given the first contract to mass-produce the machines for public use in 1873.  This was followed by 100 years of complete market dominance until the early1970s when the personal computer came upon the scene.  Shortly thereafter, the typewriter became an attic antique.  Today, there is not a place on earth where typewriters are still being made.  The last holdout was a small manufacturing plant in India which shut down its production line in August of 2011.

But now the typewriter is making a comeback.  All over North America college students are increasingly holding – “type-ins” – where they do their school work on typewriters instead of computers.  And why is this high-tech generation going back in time?  Here’s why:

Mind Reason – On a computer, you can type without thinking and then simply delete to start over; which makes the mind lazy.  But on a typewriter; you better have really thought out what you are going to put down on paper or be prepared to manually do it all over again.

Time Reason – Typewriters are good at only one thing, putting words on paper; so that is all you do.  But a computer does so many other things and therein lies the problem; the constant temptation to stop working on your assignment and waste time going online.

Wear Reason – Typewriters are built like battleships.  They survive countless indignities and welcome repairs. But not computers which  become obsolete almost  from the moment they hit the market.  So it’s kind of like saying to Silicon Valley, “In your face, Microsoft!”

Feel Reason – On a computer, there is a disconnect between you and your words.  But using a typewriter is kind of like growing your own food, or making your own clothes, or building your own furniture; there is a certain personal attachment to what you are doing.

And now Russia’s joined in.  President Putin has ordered the Kremlin to go back to using typewriters to help leak-proof sensitive classified documents.  This is all in response to the security leaks in the United States.

The bottom line?  To the iPad, and the iPod, and the iPhone, you can now add another to the series – iType.