We're losing the typewriter as the last manufacturers are phasing it out.
This means more than just the passing of a now-obsolete machine. It's the death of another little bit of cool the world will never get back.
I've always felt a connection to the typewriter. As a writer, I banged out my first spectacularly melodramatic and amateurish stories back in high school on a mechanical Smith Corona that had been discarded from my father's office in favor of new electrics.
I would move up to a word processor within mere months, but I would always miss the satisfying tactile sensation of banging away at those keys amid that snare drum patter as the misaligned keys pushed through a fading ribbon to the clean sheet of rolled paper. It didn't hurt my affection for the ole qwerty beast that my hometown is Milwaukee--where, in 1866, Christopher Latham Sholes invented what would evolve into the 20th century typewriter.
When I learned that the typewriter had passed into antiquity, it struck me that its replacements--from the desktop computer and the laptop to the smartphone and the iPad--will never muster the ambiance and sense of literary history graced upon the typewriter.
You want proof? Take a second and try to picture Beat Generation poet Jack Kerouac blowing the thick purple smoke from his "J" over a bottle of bourbon and the brushed aluminum and white keys of an iMac. "On the Road" would've hit the road without its rebellious aura.
If Ian Fleming had sat down at his desk on his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica to bang out "The Spy Who Loved Me" on a Dell Netbook, James Bond would've ended up drinking Kool-Aid, stirred and not shaken. … Read more