Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Fake Story Which Launched 1,000 Misty Watercolor Memories

Have you heard? So sad about the last typewriter factory closing, isn't it? So let's all get wistful about technologies past and... what's that you say? Typewriters are still being made? Oh well, so much for nostalgia.

I remember when Sony marketed the first portable manual typewriter in 1980. Prior to that, if you wanted to type, you'd be chained to your desk. But Sony changed all that! The device was such a hit that before you knew what was happening, everywhere you looked you would see people walking around merrily tap-tap-tapping away. You could sit on the beach and write your novel! You could stroll around the shopping mall while composing a letter to a friend! Got a term paper due the next day but you really want to go see Aerosmith? No problem! Just strap on your Sony portable manual typewriter, go to the show and type to the beat!

Oh, sure, not everybody was enamoured with the new gadget. Some people noted that people weren't connecting with other human beings as much because they were lost in their own worlds, typing out their resum├ęs while walking down the sidewalk instead of truly engaging with the environment around them. Others noted that being lost in a reverie while composing poetry on your Sony portable manual typewriter was a good way to get mugged. Others decried the loss of the old ways, noting that 95% of children by the mid 1980s knew absolutely nothing about casting metal type, composing sticks, case hardening, or punch-matrix systems. Tsk.

But we loved our Sony portable manual typewriters. And now the twitters and the facebooks and the mac-pods have ruined all that. SAD.

4 comments:

brucej said...

Well, I really DID love my portable Hermes typwriter...got me all through College in those pre-computer days ...

z7q2 said...

They can have my Olivetti Editor 2 when they pry it from my cold, dead... oh, never mind, it's a pain to get ribbons for it anymore, you can have it.

Uncle Cotton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Uncle Cotton said...

For HS graduation in 1986 I got a Brother portable, which handily doubled as a daisy wheel printer. I found this quite handy, & on the rare occasion that I could hook it up to a personal computer it printed much nicer term papers than the letter-quality dot matrix printers in the Macintosh labs.

The big bonus is that it could be set to store one line of text at a time so you could preview and edit before setting it to paper, saving the precious correction ribbon. Unfortunately it didn't have a display, so one would have to 'feel' their typos as they went along.