Sunday, 25 November 2012

Farewell, Friend

I was engulfed by a wave of nostalgia when I heard that the last British typewriter
has been made in the Brother factory in North Wales.

I remember, as a teenager, attending an evening class in typewriting because my mother was convinced a typing qualification would guarantee me a good job when I left school.

I remember the teacher playing a record of marching music on a gramophone (another piece of ancient technology), and slapping her hand on the desk as she called out the letters while we trainee typists tried to – press – the – right – keys – to – the – rhythm – of – a – brass – band

I remember struggling through a timed typing test as part of a job interview, and the relief I felt when I was told it was only a formality as the job mostly involved writing by hand.

I remember the sinking feeling I had when I read in the Writers & Artists Yearbook that magazine editors and publishers would no longer consider handwritten manuscripts. I had given up paid work on the birth of my first baby and even a second-hand typewriter seemed an unaffordable luxury.   

I remember the thrill, after months of scrimping and saving, when I became the proud owner of the cheapest portable typewriter I could find.

I remember the frustration of spending hours carefully typing out a short story only to discover I’d made a mistake! 

I remember how modern I felt when I swapped the manual typewriter for an electric word processor, and then how nonchalantly I gave them both away when I progressed to a personal computer!

I wouldn’t want to go back to the old days of carbon paper, stuck keys, and the messy business of changing ribbons, but discovering that the last British typewriter has been donated to London's Science Museum has made me wish I’d kept my little bit of history. 


Friko said...

I still used typewriters during my working life, from manual (at a very old-fashioned office job) to electric.
Heavens, all those typing errors. My carbon copies always were a mess.

Thank God for computer keyboards.

Linda D said...

Completely agree, Friko. I'd be lost without my computer.