Monday, December 19, 2011

Tap the Type

Benny here, I'm remembering when the first commercially successful typewriter was invented in 1868 by Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W Soule in Milwaukee, WI. Sholes soon disowned the machine and refused to use, or even to recommend it. But it soon caught on anyway.

There have been several figures through the years who dearly prized their typewriters including:

  • Mark Twain is said to have been the first to submit a typewritten manuscript to a publisher with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876.
  • Ernest Hemingway used to write his books standing in front of a Royal typewriter placed on a tall bookshelf.
  • Jack Kerouac typed On the Road on a roll of paper so he would not have to be interrupted to change the paper. 
  • Henry James dictated to a typist.
  • David McCullough bought himself a second-hand Royal typewriter in 1965 and it has been the sole piece of technology he used in producing the manuscripts of every book he has published including two Pulitzer Prize winners.  
In this computer age I didn't think I'd ever see the manual typewriter make a comeback. But for those who are nostalgic for the days of classic typewriters, there is a company located in the UK that will type the message you email them, and then mail it for you. The website states they will "lovingly craft your words" on authentic vintage typewriters.

What's next? A return to the quill and ink? I was quite fond of them.


Anonymous said...

In high school, they taught us to type on IBM Selectrics, the same kind depicted on the Pioneers of American Industrial Design stamps that were recently released. I'm gettig nostalgic remembering the clickety-clack of all those typewriters going at the same time!!

Grannybunny said...

When I was in high school, we learned on manual typewriters. I now have 2 degrees, but still consider typing the most useful course I ever took.