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Typewriters – going, going, gone!

Typewriters may well be a thing of the past but it was still a shock to learn this week that the last ever typewriter factory is about to close its doors for the last time.

Based in India, the factory has been manufacturing typewriters for over 50 years and in that time, has produced 100,000s of them.  That’s a heck of a lot of typewriters.  But it’s no surprise that demand has fallen given the computerisation of so much of literary output.

I haven’t used a typewriter in years, not since my student days but I’ve always been fascinated by them, especially the old, antique versions.  That’s why I used one in the design of my website. Their clunky solidness and sturdy keys fit with romantic notions I have of what being a journalist was like years ago when you had to write your copy on the hop, deadlines waiting for no one.  Or the grandees of literary fiction, people like Hemingway and others who relied on their trustee typing machines to write the most beautiful prose.  There’s just nothing romantic about typing on a Mac or an iPad no matter how much we love them.  It’s just not the same.  Old typewriters are in a league of their own.

There are loads of typewriters still rattling around of course.  It’ll be a while before they become completely obsolete.  The antiques among them have even become collectibles.  And there are probably still one or two writers who to this day still use their typewriters for their everyday writing (and I am full of admiration for them). But it’s sad nevertheless that there will no longer be a bright, sparkly brand new typewriter rolling off a production line anywhere in the world after the factory in Mumbai closes.

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