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January 24th, 2001


Before there were computers, before there were word processors, people used things called typewriters. While they weren’t as advanced as Microsoft Word, they certainly were a staple in every newsroom in the world. Naturally, they offered a nice alternative to hand-writing things like letters, too.

My first typewriter was an old Remington, a hand-me-down from my sister. It was a massive grey metal one, but still mildly portable. Ribbons were impossible to find, and I remember the G and H keys got stuck far too often. The thing was still great to use, because it was so freaking simple. No paperclip assistant, no auto spell check, nothing. If you made a typo, you went back and used the X key to "erase" it or, in severe instances, Liquid Paper. I also remember having to work with carbon paper – ick!

I later got a new typewriter. I believe it was from the toymaker Buddy-L. It was all plastic, and the ribbons were teeny compared to the old metal one. It was probably as state-of-the-art as a typewriter could get (for kids) at the time… but it was also soulless compared to the old one. It fell into disuse when I got my first ever output device for my Commodore 64, which was actually a plotter!

It’s funny that I think of my first computer the same way. My current one is just as soulless.

Anyway, here’s a rather cool typewriter history page to explore. Also, a page debunking some myths about the QWERTY keyboard. And Olivetti still makes manual and electric typewriters, if you’re so inclined.

Ding! -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Matt
DATE: Tuesday January 23, 2001 -- 11:52:39PM
My friend Mark still used a Word Processor last year to type papers on. It was a tabletop one. Pretty funny, he would watch Wings and type papers

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday January 24, 2001 -- 11:57:41AM
I used to love using my mom's old typewriter. We had these little sheets of correction paper that you'd put between the paper and the ribbon when you needed to strike over a letter. In middle school I got an electric typewriter that had a separate correction ribbon... I used that quite a bit as well, and it even had a built in spell-check.

I'd venture to say that, even today, certain forms are more easily filled out on a manual typewriter than on a computer.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday January 24, 2001 -- 12:25:58PM
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy yellow dog.

Or something like that . . .

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday January 24, 2001 -- 3:17:26PM
Robert -- that last comment of yours is discrimintatory to Asians! I'm going to sue you.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday January 24, 2001 -- 6:09:34PM
Are you trying to bait me into that old stereotype about Asians eating dogs? For shame, Ryan!

DATE: Monday January 29, 2001 -- 1:49:16PM
i've always loved typewriters. bukowski called them typers. writers used to have strong hands when keys were on springs that offered some resistance. there's nothing like the rhythm of keys slapping the page, and you can read the emotion in an original by how far the letters punch through. my typers always lose their Ee's. The one i use now is a smith corona "silent" portable in a greenvelvet-lined case. by silent it means no ding but the keys still slap with a most satisfying sound.

FROM: frankie
DATE: Thursday September 20, 2001 -- 4:15:51PM
does anyone know what kind of typewriter bukowski used?
(please email me) thanks

FROM: Robert
DATE: Thursday September 20, 2001 -- 4:41:47PM
Frankie: A lot of pretentious, wannabe alcoholics could answer that question. Fortunately, no one on the Ping is that lame.

DATE: Thursday September 20, 2001 -- 4:45:49PM
Robert -- You've obviously forgotten all the winners who post on the Jackass Ping.

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:07:17 pm

FROM: The First Day Of Typing Class
DATE: Tuesday January 3, 2006 -- 7:26:01 pm
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dogs.

Typer July 25, 2007, 10:56 pm

Where do you get that correction paper now?

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