|Image courtesy of MRS|
From across the Pond comes the first mainstream media coverage of an idea that is slowly gaining popularity across the United States and continental Europe since its introduction by several typewriter collectors - the type-in. With any luck it may gain a foothold here in Britain too and I for one would certainly be up for it - it sounds like a wizard wheeze! Sort of like an Internet cafe, only with typewriters. What's not to like?!
The attraction is not just limited to vintage aficionados such as ourselves, either. Judging by this particular article the so-called "digital generation" are practically lapping it up as well. The typewriter shall not go quietly into the night, indeed! It is more than encouraging to see the popularity of these meetings with young people who are more used to their laptops, mobile telephones and Blackcurrants (or whatever they're called) but who are obviously keen to explore the simple, tactile nature of the manual typewriter and the involvement it demands. That alone provides a good deal of hope not only for the preservation of typing machines but also the actual enjoyment of using them.
Of course the reaction of some young people, such as the first girl mentioned in the article, is amusing yet also befuddling. I can still remember the time, a few years ago, when two of my nieces (then aged about 7 and 9) first laid eyes on my typewriter. Their first question was "What does that do?" and for a moment it left me stuck as I suddenly realised I was being asked to explain something, which was so familiar to me, to two people who had never seen one before. In the end I struggled to come up with some simplistic explanation along the lines of "it's like a computer, but the words are printed straight on to the paper". Then, of course, they immediately wanted to try it for themselves!
It incidents like that, and occasions such as these type-ins, which prove that there is still an active interest - and what's more, a growing interest - in the good old manual typewriter and that therefore its future is assured.