Typewriters by (1 Story)

Prompted By Good Riddance

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I started out as a Creative Writing major in College. And even though we were only writing short stories, they had to follow standard publishing rules for type size, margins, line-spacing, etc.  I think I had an Olympus manual typewriter that was given to me as a high school graduation present.  Compared with my handwriting, it made things look pretty nice.

I think I had an Olympus manual typewriter in college. Compared with my handwriting, it made things look pretty nice. But if you had to make a change, or if you had a typo, you were in big trouble.

But if you had to make a change, or if you had a typo, you were in big trouble. Even though, I typed at 90 words a minute, it took a long time to get a new draft posted. The IBM selectric make it slightly easier with the correction tape easily available. But that mostly good for correcting the errors of the typist, or secretary, or admin. It wasn’t meant for content changes.

Finally, the computer came along. And with all its power and variety of capabilities, it’s most valuable feature was copy and paste.

We kept an IBM Selectric in the basement for many years. And it still worked well for government forms (like FAFSA) that required typing within a form. But finally, we kissed it goodbye. I think we donated it to GoodWill, thinking that someone might still have a need but it didn’t feel as though we were giving them something valuable. Just something that was better than handwriting.

I don’t miss it at all.

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Characterizations: been there


  1. John Zussman says:

    I’ll second this nomination! We had an IBM Selectric in the ’70s when I was writing my dissertation (and both of us were writing research papers). We paid a pretty penny for it too, but it was worth it. Or at least we thought so, until the first word processing programs came along.

  2. No! I disagree! I love my typewriter. Although I am very glad I didn’t have to write my masters thesis with it or use it at work. So, maybe, kinda yes?

  3. Suzy says:

    I agree! I am still haunted by my college honors thesis, written 44 years ago, which could have been so much better if I had been able to write it on a computer, where it would have been easy to revise, instead of having to spend the last two days before it was due retyping the whole damn thing. And then waiting in line at a copy shop to have copies made.

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    I remember learning touch typing on those huge old typewriters, and all the proper margins, etc. So glad for word processing and computers now, though I still don’t know how to use all the formatting available to me, it does make life so much easier!

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