The other day I was involved in a Facebook discussion over whether to have one or two spaces after a period, and it reminded me that the last time I worried about that was when I used a typewriter. Which made me think of the typewriters I’ve used, which, I notice, I have bonded with more completely than the laptops.
This one is The AT&T 6500, which I must have bought in the 1980s.(According to etsy, it’s “extremely rare” and is worth $65. I’m going to hold out until it’s monumentally rare and worth $6500.)
The first thing that struck me, when I lifted it up to take a photo, was that it’s extremely heavy. Must be at least 20 pounds. The keys have a very satisfying heft. Nothing is quite so satisfying as writing an intense scene and truly being able to pound on the keyboard. (When I pound on my laptop I seem to send text scattering all over the place.) I think this had an automatic printing feature, so that if you pressed a button it would print out previous pages, but I’m not sure about that.
At the time I had this typewriter, I was a contributing editor to something called, Chronicle of the 20th Century. This was a fun project that involved writing news articles about historical events as though I were actually there. Because I was the Russian specialist, I can remember writing about the revolution, the death of the Tsar, and so on. It offered a different way of looking at history.
Do you have a typewriter that you remember fondly?
Yes! A Hermes portable. Sleek little light brown case… a forerunner Mac airbook in my eyes….
An IBM Selectric. My fingers felt as if they were playing a piano.