Friday, February 28, 2020

A Brief Personal History of the Typewriter

Or youngish people and today's communications.  I grew up in a day when a letter went from Kansas City, Mo. to Wichita, Kansas overnight with a penny stamp to today's lightning quick cyberspace emails and apparently an app called "What's App?  Apparently it is now the fastest way to communicate.   All of the teenagers have it.  I am not by any stretch of the imagination, a teen.

This made me remember the day back in high school.  Our junior and senior years, we had mandatory classes in shorthand and typing with the expectation that these lessons would help us make notes in our college classes.

My first typewriter was a black, boxy thing that squatted on the long desks we used.  It had a sling back carriage, meaning that at the end of a line, to keep from typing on the roller, you slung it back to the left with a handle.  You've seen them in old movies.  Yeah, that's what we had.

Then, out in the world, my office typewriter was powered by electricity (!) and the carriage returned automatically!  Hog heaven!  Progress!  These models had a print ball which could be changed from one font to another.

And then came the first computers; at that time basically a typewriter and  file storage in one go.

Look at us now.  The one consistency though is the desire to communicate.  I hope that never vanishes.

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