There used to be a quaint little store in my neighborhood that repaired typewriters.
I think they billed themselves as one of the only places that still repaired them, along with other machines which slowly became obsolete in the age of the PC, smartphones and tablets.
But before I knew it, the store was closed and gone, and it probably wasn’t just because of the economy.
Most typewriters these days are made in Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and for some reason, as Ed Michael, general sales manager of Swintec, said, “They all ultimately end up here in New Jersey.”
“Typewriters are alive and well. Most big offices need a typewriter or two or three to do some special jobs – special forms, multipart forms,” explained Michael.
“Some places need to have typewriters to do original forms such as birth certificates, death certificates, things like that.” Swintec also makes typewriters with clear casing for prisons, so you can’t sneak anything in or out of one.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I even sat at a typewriter, as my family became pretty computer integrated early, but I always tried to keep computers simple, like glorified typewriters.
One time my father was so frustrated with computer problems, he bought a typewriter as a joke. I’m pretty sure he still has it around, but I don’t think he uses it.
Although I just mentioned I can’t remember the last time I used a typewriter, there is something a bit sad about the day there will be no more typewriters, like when VHS finally died in 2006.
There is something romantic about the typewriter with the images you conjure from film noir, the classic detectives like Dashiell Hammett writing about crime and dames, the old days of newspapers where you sat at a manual typewriter frantically cranking out breaking news, the sound of a typewriter clacking and ringing.
It’s like the old sounds of ringing telephones, although you can now recreate them for your cell phones. Maybe in the future we can download an endless loop of typewriters clacking, would make a nice sound to help us go to sleep like falling rain.