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Typewriters are making a comeback!

 
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I couldn't figure out where to put this; I thought there was a 'retrotech' forum somewhere on Permies but I don't see one...

From a web article from a Boston, MA TV station: Typewriters are making a comeback as they remind people of simpler times (pre-COVID, pre-always-connected-by-devices.)

‘Busiest We Have Been In 41 Years,’ Typewriters Make Comeback During Pandemic
 
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Hm. You are right, we don't seem to have a low or retro tech forum... hmmm...

I'm glad typewriters are coming back! I like them. Much better ergonomics than a laptop keyboard where your fingers are all squooshed together.

For years I have been casually on the lookout for a manual typewriter. The ones I have seen were being sold as "Antique!" or "Vintage!" and were out of my price range.  I'm looking more for the price range of a yard sale "I don't believe my mother had this thing in her closet for all these years! Get it out of here!" type range :D

:D
 
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I'm old enough that I learnt to type on a manual typewriter. The class was run by the school secretary. I only signed up because I had a crush on one of the girls taking the class. I leant to touch type and left school with a respectable 40 words per minute.  

I am exceedingly grateful that I went to a college that had Unix Sun Stations, Macs and 386 PC's running Word Perfect. The keys didn't jam and I no longer had to carry around bottles of foul smelling tippex. I could cut and paste and correct on the fly. I have really poor spelling skills and my writing is full of typos. I learnt how to mail merge and print envelopes, so in my final year I managed to write 273 application letters to every single Civil Engineering Consultancy in Britain and got a job in the middle of a really bad recession.

So I won't be rushing out to buy a typewriter . . . or a film camera or a record player. I love simplicity and digital . . . way, way, less stuff! I have to disagree with the article, typewriters didn't exist in an age that was simple. I had video cassettes, music cassettes, records, CD's, books, magazines, photo albums, folders of paper . . . the list goes on.  I now have my phone for photography and music and my iPad for writing, reading, watching and browsing. Both are pretty stripped down and I'm migrating to the default apps. Sorry for being so cynical . . . my inbox is rammed with emails trying to persuade me to buy stuff . . . it's that time of year and I'm going cold turkey.
 
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I think typewriters are cool. I love typing on them. We had one when I was little.

I really enjoy the sounds of the clickity clackity, zubang ching! Haha.

I discovered I'm okay with just writing in a notebook though. It's way more portable and it slows me down even more than a typewriter.
 
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I have an old manual typewriter; it's got a Polish keyboard. My wife got it for free when a local convent closed down and was giving away stuff. It's got all the usual letters and keys, plus a few for the additional Polish characters. I've not used it, the ribbon is old and I don't know where to get replacements. (There are Reddit subreddits and a group on Groups.io that address this, but I don't care enough right now to research. The machine is a curiosity, for now.)
 
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Yes, typewriters are awesome.  Been using one for years: https://permies.com/t/79142/typewriter-fixing-restoring-typewriters

 
Paul Sofranko
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Hm. You are right, we don't seem to have a low or retro tech forum... hmmm...


This forum: Appropedia appears to be the closest. Of course, I didn't think of that or see it until after I started this thread.

 
r ranson
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Most of the low tech stuff is in gear https://permies.com/f/91/gear

If you think a new forum might be useful, maybe start a thread in the Tinkering forum.

The thing about new forums is we need the content first to put in the forum before we can make a new one.  About 50 threads (assuming it doesn't de-populate an existing forum).  Find or make that many threads and there is probably a staff member around who can help make the forum.  
 
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An old manual typewriter is my postal correspondence tool of choice -my penmanship often being illegible.  

Check your thrift stores now and then, I've got lucky and picked up a couple well-preserved machines for a song.  Vintage ribbons can be found online -Ebay has been where I've got them, or else wound ribbon on old spools.  Hard, shrunken platens can sometimes be padded out by loading an extra sheet or two of thick paper.  Beware of oiling old machines to free the actions.  It tends to gum them worse in the long run.  A thorough cleaning is best.  Sometimes naptha is carefully used.  
 
Paul Sofranko
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r ranson wrote:Most of the low tech stuff is in gear https://permies.com/f/91/gear

If you think a new forum might be useful, maybe start a thread in the Tinkering forum.

The thing about new forums is we need the content first to put in the forum before we can make a new one.  About 50 threads (assuming it doesn't de-populate an existing forum).  Find or make that many threads and there is probably a staff member around who can help make the forum.  



Thanks! I didn't think of that one. Regarding a new forum, I'm not proposing one; I'll leave it up to the powers that be to decide that. Gear and Appropedia are fine, I think, for now.
 
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I agree with Edward. Although I'm not that old, and my main experience with typewriters was as a TA in my school library, they were still using a typewriter to make labels for the book spines. The typewriter needs much more force to press the letters, and the ergonomics are not necessarily any better than a modern laptop. My mom, who was a typist (on typewriters) for a short stint when she was young, still slams each key with unnecessary force, because of that typewriter training.

Although I can see the use of a typewriter for typing on paper of unusual dimensions (like those book spine labels), I much prefer the simplicity, versatility, and portability of modern electronics.
 
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