Which do you prefer, the typewriter or the keyboard?

untitled-design-24-300x251-6470328You may have owned an old-fashioned typewriter in the past. As a child, I remember the thrill of finding one in a museum or during a stately home visit and enjoying the noise and sensation as I pressed down the keys and ting of the bell after a carriage return.

Any writers portrayed in films tended to do their work on a typewriter and many a plotline involved a message typed or left unfinished on a typewriter, or the culprit was found through a fault with a key. Do you remember the typing pools portrayed too, with a room full of ladies typing away in unison?

When I learnt to touch type at school, we used electronic typewriters. More like the computer keyboards we see today but with ink and a carriage return. I remember loading the paper. If not wound correctly, your writing would not be straight. If a mistake was made, a harsh blue rubber was used to remove the ink or tippex could be used. This method of erasing was never good, either leaving an obvious mess or even a hole in the paper. You also had to line up the paper again in order to type over the mistake which could lead to a wonky word or letter sitting above or below your line. I suppose it really helped your accuracy as no one wanted to correct a mistake! Typing too fast on a typewriter could end up with a jam of hammers and yet another inky mess.

When I started working at Birds Eye Walls, in the Engineering Buying Department, we all had computers with the exception of the group secretary. She had a miraculous typewriting device, but with memory storage and display! Once we had finished drafting contracts, they would be passed over to the secretary to draft up on wonderful pink paper, using old versions stored on her typewriter as a starting point.  It seems strange now and this method was eventually replaced with a template on our computers to type into (but still with that pink paper).

And then to the modern keyboard and computer. Documents can be saved and altered, there are no inky ribbons or jammed keys, no inky messes, no blue inky fingers and mistakes can be corrected easily. There is no carriage return to be flung back. Nowadays, the only things we have to worry about are our speed if we haven’t learned to touch-type, spelling, grammar and typing errors, battery power, and internet connections.

So which do you prefer? The sensation of the old typewriter or the ease of the new keyboard? What are your memories of learning to type?

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