It’s time to dedicate an entry to an instrument that has brought us a lot of pleasure in media through the years.
There are few things as heartwarming and as terrifying as a typewriter. A simple glance at the machine and my heart does a flip. It is majestic. It is cold. It is cozy. It can be elegant. It can be nothing more than industrial. Here’s to the typewriter!
“I will now claim—until dispossessed—that I was the first person in the world to apply the typewriter to literature. The early machine was full of caprices, full of defects—devilish ones. It had as many immoralities as the machine of to‑day has virtues. After a year or two I found that it was degrading my character, so I thought I would give it to Howells…. He took it home to Boston, and my morals began to improve, but his have never recovered.”
~Mark Twain, The First Writing Machines
It occurred to me that some may not even know what I am referring to in this post as typewriters don’t have a connection to a cloud. Allow me to offer the definition of the typewriter…
- an electric, electronic, or manual machine with keys for producing printlike characters one at a time on paper inserted around a roller.
Just your type of entertaining information:
A brief history of typewriters.
1958 Remington Typewriter commercial
Mark Twain Wrote the First Book Ever Written with a Typewriter
“The Typewriter,” a song by Leroy Anderson, 1953
The Typewriter Song by Liberace
Jerry Lewis Typewriter routine
From March 30, 1951, here’s an episode of Nero Wolfe on radio titled, “The Telltale Ribbon.” Fun stuff!
A starry typewriter gallery:
“A lot of novelists start late—Conrad, Pirandello, even Mark Twain. When you’re young, chess is all right, and music and poetry. But novel-writing is something else. It has to be learned, but it can’t be taught. This bunkum and stinkum of college creative writing courses! The academics don’t know that the only thing you can do for someone who wants to write is to buy him a typewriter.”
― James M. Cain
“This newfangled writing machine has several virtues. It piles an awful stack of words on one page. It don’t muss things or scatter ink blots around. Of course it saves paper.”
— Mark Twain, from his first typewritten letter to his brother, circa 1875.
“I don’t have a computer. A computer’s a typewriter. I already have a typewriter.”
— Ray Bradbury
“The typewriter is so much more to be reckoned with than the sword.”
~Lee Thayer, Persons Unknown, 1941
Epic tribute, although with my lack of dexterity I’d find using a typewriter a terrifying prospect.
“I love working on a typewriter – the rhythm, the sound; it’s like playing the piano, which I do, too.” David Mamet
Epic indeed! Well done! Loved all the pictures, great theme. Wish I’d kept my old typewriter.
Well this was indeed enlightening. Since I’m so young (cough) I had no idea what a typewriter was. Now I have a pretty good idea what it is and I have you to thank. 😉
I kept using a typewriter until about 2000-01 or so. My roommate still uses one for letters. Thanks for the memories!
The typewriter is the only machine I have ever felt comfortable with. It provided me an entry to the workplace and untold hours of creative joy.