Open Wounds

The Last Typewriter

The title would be the beginning of a great story. I’ve filed it away as one I need to work on… some day.

But… I just heard this on the news, then read about it and can’t believe it. The last typewriter factory in the world – not just in India, but in the world, closed down today.

That doesn’t mean nobody uses typewriters anymore, but it certainly cuts down on the number of typewriters that will be available and out there to be bought and sold. There is now a limited number available, end of story. At least one author I know, Dewey Lambdin, writes on a typewriter – letters and I believe first drafts of all manuscripts. I’ll have to ask him if he hires someone to put it all on a computer for him so that it can get to publishers in electronic form. I don’t know. But I’ll ask. I love his Alan Lewery Naval series. But he has no website – no electronic presence other than what his publisher sets up for him.

I digress.


It saddens me there will be no more made. It makes me want to go out and get an old manual Oliver or Remington or Underwood. It’s the end of an era. Mind you I love computers and the internet and spell-check – oh I love spell-check – but I also love the sound of clicking keys and the look and feel of an old manual typewriter.

I first started writing on a manual, non-electric Smith Corona. Then I moved on the an electric. I used the IBM Selectric at a few jobs – with corrector ribbons. But what I remember the most is having to type manuscripts of short stories to send out and having to throw out a page if there were more than three errors on the page. An error was X’ed out and four X’s meant I had to do the page over. It was brutal for a learning typist in High School who would get to the last line of a page and make that fourth mistake. Ugh. I can still hear the sound of the roller ratcheting as I pulled the paper out in frustration and lined another one up – drew it in. Back then, proofing your work had a different meaning.

Hey. It wasn’t that long ago.

So long typewriter factory in Mumbai. I wonder how much each of the last 500 typewriters that came off the line will sell for? Just curious. I’d better reread the article.

Anybody else have a typewriter story?

2 responses

  1. Joe,

    I can’t believe I didn’t know you had a blog.

    I’ve been extremely busy lately, so I’m only about a fourth of the way into Open Wounds, but I’m enjoying it very much so far.



    April 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    • Matt,
      Yeah. I dove into the blogging world. I have to tell you, after seeing Andrews (every day blog) and yours (such specific and wonderful feedback on query letters; makes me wish I’d known about your site when I was younger and floundering with the damned things – and you have a huge following) I was really humbled about the whole thing. So… yes. I have a blog. I’m working towards finding my voice with it!

      April 26, 2011 at 6:01 pm

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