Saturday, October 30, 2010

Instant printing

In my search for my old red shoes last night, I unearthed from the back of Charlie's closet (my personal storage area back when his room was my office) ye olde typewriter. It's an Underwood Standard Portable. Clearly only used by writers with incredibly strong arms; it weighs a tonne.

Charlie clickey-clacked away at this beautiful beast for close to an hour last night (dressed as a bumblebee), and he's at it again. "It actually splotches the ink right on the paper!"

I still remember the incredible din of all the typewriters being used at the office back in the late '80s. One pre-computer place I worked had polished marble floors and several-story-high ceilings. The noise of the electric typewriters was brain rattling.

Another office I worked at, all the editors had white (manual) Olympias. Because I was admin, I got a big, black, humming, IBM Selectric - what a wonderful machine! And every couple of months, a typewriter maintenance guy would come around to service the machine; he'd clean it, check it out, and do some virtuoso typing, all while whistling "Makin' Whoopie".

At home, on one's own, the sound is one of productivity and creativity. The ding gives you assurance you're making progress. Sweeping the carriage return would make you feel cool and grown up. The thing never crashed. You wouldn't lose your work. I'm still waiting for them to come back. Sadly, today, the typewriter's image is the only thing that actually gets used anymore. Just an old icon. But what a beaut.

1 comment:

  1. I adored this post. I miss the sound of typewriters.