Alive and clicking: In praise of the humble typewriter

When an old typewriter unexpectedly came back into his life, David Barnett discovered that these obsolete machines continue to inspire love and appreciation in a digital world

Friday 11 June 2021 21:30
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<p>Writing on a typewriter is a transient thing, like a short-lived but brightly burning and clamorous love affair. Once the thing is written, the paper is removed from the typewriter and the two things are parted</p>

Writing on a typewriter is a transient thing, like a short-lived but brightly burning and clamorous love affair. Once the thing is written, the paper is removed from the typewriter and the two things are parted

Back in the mid-1970s, George Blackman got a frantic call at his office equipment sales and repair business in Hastings from someone who needed urgent attention to his typewriter.

The potential customer was in Buxted, Sussex, which was a good 40 miles away from George’s workshop, and outside the usual territorial boundaries of his work. But the man on the phone was quite insistent, saying he was in the middle of something hugely important. and after being assured that money was no object with regards to travelling expenses, George agreed to make the journey.

The man had given his name but it meant nothing to George, who arrived and was shown into a bright, airy office in the large house. He was then left alone to work on the Adler machine, pausing only to glance around the study at the rows of books in a multitude of languages bearing his client’s name.

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