Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Bye bye, typewriter

On the way into work this morning, I heard the news that the last typewriter to be built in the UK has been produced at Brother, in North Wales.

Although I haven't used a typewriter for years, this is still sad news - I wrote (and published) my earliest stories on an old Remington upright my Dad rescued from work (which explains my 3-fingers-and-a-thumb on each hand typing method) and being able to produce readable, professional looking pages was like opening a door to a new world.

I progressed to an Olympia, with which I wrote four ‘novels’ and my Three Intrepids mystery series and I never looked back.  At school, with a small gap in my timetable, I had to take either typing or needlework to fill the space and chose the former, quickly getting my RSA.  However, once I started work and saw what computers and their word processors could do (I loved Q&A Write and resisted Word for a long time) I never looked back but there’s something delightfully nostalgic about the whole typewriter business.  I loved the sound of the keys clacking (and often getting stuck), the way you always got blue and red on your fingers when you changed the ribbon, the ding of the carriage return and those little thumb-wide strips of Tippex paper. Ah, history...

Brother, who say they’ve made 5.9 million typewriters at their Wrexham factory since it was opened in 1985 have donated the last machine to London’s Science Museum.  Pretty soon, I imagine, it’ll be like cassette tapes, where kids look at them and say “you used to use this?”

My kid sister Sarah, learning to type in 1985

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