Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Lovely and Underrated Typewriter

I love the scene in You've Got Mail where Frank practically swoons over the new-to-him electric typewriter he's purchased (a machine that is the exact copy of the model he already has in Kathleen's apartment AND the one at his own place).

What is it people love about typewriters? I'll admit to loving typewriter jewelry, but I'm also quite fond of the vintage Royal typewriter that sits in my office. This manual typewriter was my Dad's, and it's the first machine I ever typed a paper on (and I do mean typed).

In the Guardian today, Sam Jones asks Do Typewriters Hold the Keys to Fine Writing?. He shares some interesting notions from some very famous writers. Here are a few quotes.
Will Self - "Writing on a manual makes you slower in a good way, I think. You don't revise as much, you just think more, because you know you're going to have to retype the entire f***ing thing."

Frederick Forsyth - "I have never had an accident where I have pressed a button and accidentally sent seven chapters into cyberspace, never to be seen again," he points out. "And have you ever tried to hack into my typewriter? It is very secure."
While I pledge allegiance to my MacBook and whisper sweet nothings in her ear, do check out Do Typewriters Hold the Keys to Fine Writing? for some fun reading.


  1. On a related note, there's a story in today's NY Times about Cormac McCarthy's typewriter: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/books/01typewriter.html

  2. Hello,

    I am a typewriter lover too.

    There is a remarkable collective experience that we have towards typing and a strong nostalgia for the typewriter, as a physical and emotional symbol of writing.

    I have been collecting 19th century typewriters for 20 years now (1880s & 1890s) and have been enthralled with them the whole way.

    There was an incredible variety of ingeniously designed typewriters from the latter part of the 19th century, with over 300 models coming forth from many industrialized countries.

    Please visit my website to see some of these extraordinary machines.


    Happy typing,
    Martin (Canada)