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For those of a certain age, you'll remember the noise of typewriters.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JR, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. JR

    JR Active Member

    Anthony Reinhart's piece on a Torontonian's antique typewriter collection, written on ......a typewriter.

    I learned to type on a fully manual typewriter with blank keys. In University I had to type all my essays because my handwriting was (and is) totally illegible.

    Part nostalgia, part musing on writing. Kinda wanders off at the end but worth reading


    Already, I am attracting attention, but to my surprise, it is positive. Five strokes in, a smiling young colleague was at my side, asking what I was doing. She is 21, so there were no typewriters in her classrooms, only computers. And, just a moment ago, my BlackBerry went off with a message from a workmate who asked: “What's that music I hear?” and then added, “For once this place sounds like a newsroom – keep hammering.”

    Here's a link to the guy's typewriter collection. Fascinating stuff.


  2. Bob Slydell

    Bob Slydell Active Member

    I type like shit, so I'm so glad I have a computer. But there is a nice, vintage tings about the sounds of one.
  3. Thanks for this. One of my hobbies is restoring old typewriters. The link to the story, and the site, was great.

    In junior high we took typing on old Smith-Corona manuals and, when the instructor thought we were ready, moved up to IBM Selectrics!

  4. I have a Royal typewriter from the 1940s that I confiscated from the basement of my 200+-year-old newspaper.

    Last year, just to be different, I wrote a 12-page paper for one of my graduate classes on it. Let me tell you, when you get in a rhythm, the clicking of the keys sound like music.
  5. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    JR probably remembers the noise of a Gutenberg press.
  6. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    my fellow geezers will confirm that newspaper news rooms lost their charm when computers replaced typewriters. there is no sound to news rooms anymore. they're like insurance offices. yech!! :eek: :eek: :eek:
  7. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    And instead of laptops almost every writer carried Olivetti portables -- the one in the blue case -- to ballparks and on the road.
  8. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I bought a Smith-Corona at a Bennington yard sale, for $5. Banged out a short story about this old-school peck-peck typewriter getting rescued, gave the typewriter a voice, and named the typewriter Smith Corona. Ran out of paper one day so I used the back of those black-and-white AP photos that came out of those big, blue machines, circa 1995. Good times.
  9. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    I still have, in working order, an early-70s vintage Olympia manual office model. Heavy as an anvil, but a handy thing to have when the power goes out. I take it for a spin every few months just to keep it limber, and to hear that sound.

    I also miss the antic clatter of the newsroom teletype.
  10. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    Xan, I'm looking for an old typewriter myself, just to have around the house as a reminder of from whence we came. My concern is finding a ribbon for it when it goes out because I plan on using it every so often, too.

    In "You Gotta Play Hurt," Jim Tom Pinch referred to his "old geezer-codger manual," which he identified as a Smith-Corona Portable, I think; he also said Trash-80s were available but he preferred the S-C. The opening paragraph, describing how he'd kill his ME slowly by banging the return carriage off the guy's temple repeatedly is priceless.
  11. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    For those of you who've never worked in a newsroom with the wire clicking away at a steady pace and the bells notifying everyone of something urgent about to come over, you don't know what you missed.

    Just like the kids today who've never held a wooden baseball bat.

    Those were the days.
  12. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    When you've actually "banged out" a story on a manual typewriter, you are a vintage newspaper person.

    Like the other posters, I have an old Royal manual in an office closet. Brought it out once to show my son how it worked. He was fascinated. While he spends his time on the computer, I'm proud to say he can touch type at a good clip. In this day and age, being able to write through your fingers to a keyboard and on to the screen is an asset.
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