Typewriter—now only an artefact

This announcement from Mashable that Godrej has formally stopped its manufacturing of typewriters didn’t upset me at all. I’m afraid I never did care for typewriters…whether manual, electric or electronic…

I began using a typewriter in the year 1983 while acceding to self-induced pressure to acquire job skills. The first I got to use formally at a workplace was indeed a fairly new and clean Godrej typewriter. The next job got me a Remington make, followed by a Godrej electric typewriter in the third workplace. Oh, but was I thrilled to see a dedicated personal computer in my 4th place of work in the year 1989! This place also managed to hold on to me for 7 long years and mostly because it upgraded technology and hardware faster than most of its contemporaries. By doing so, it also provided a culture of constant learning…

Typewriters may have been somewhat of a leap from handwritten communication but to me these beasts felt primitive. Making corrections on multiple sheets of paper using hard erasers or white fluid used to be annoying. Carefully layering multiple coloured sheets of papers with carbon sheets inside used to be another dreary experience. Later, if a letter went through editing instead of signing, all that effort to bring it to that state used to be dashed.

The true reason for disliking typewriters, however, was above all that. I’ve been sure that typewriters created fixed classes among people in workplaces – those who typed became typists or clerks or steno-typists and those who didn’t became bosses… It was wonderful that personal computers helped blur that divide. Not only did they make the job of producing business communication painless, they pushed everyone into learning to express themselves using a keyboard. Initially, many managers were nervous about typing their own communication—they thought it was demeaning to be doing so. But just see, where we would be if that regressive mindset had prevailed.  We’d have a top-down chain of authority to Google for smallest bits of information!

So, it’s alright to have created hardware junk by ushering in personal computers and retiring typewriters–in doing so, we’ve brought about a higher parity in our work culture.

3 thoughts on “Typewriter—now only an artefact

    1. This disparity is only as serious as the difference between a Nokia or Apple or Samsung cellphone…which is to say, it isn’t life-altering 🙂

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