Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Reports of the death of the typewriter have been greatly exaggerated

Some of you may have read or heard over the news wires that the "last" existing manufacturer of mechanical typewriters - India's Godrej & Boyce - has stopped producing its typewriter and has only a few hundred left in stock.

End of an era as last mechanical typewriters are sold

But fear not, my fellow vintage fans, because it is not true!  Well, the bit about Godrej & Boyce stopping production is, unfortunately, but not the bit about their being the last manufacturer of mechanical typewriters.  No, I have it on good authority that there are at least 3 companies still producing mechanical typewriters, all of them based in the Far East but using the familiar QWERTY layout and available for export.  Three cheers for Marshall Ind. and Chee-May (Goh's) of Taiwan for their MT-99 and Kota models, and the Shanghai Weilv Co. of China who still manufacture licensed versions of an old Olivetti design under the name (ironically for us Brits) of Rover(!).

The Shanghai Weilv Rover 8000
That's not to mention the fact that their are also several companies continuing to make electric typewriters (which are not quite the same, I grant you, but still not far off!) so there is more than a little life left in the device yet!  And of course being a good, old-fashioned piece of sturdy technology the mechanical typewriter is built like nothing else.  My 56-year-old Imperial feels like it could withstand a nuclear blast - at which point we'd need mechanical typewriters again because all the electronics would have stopped working! ;-)

Yes, it's in a disgraceful condition but it's nearly 60 years old.  Plus... it still works.  Good for another 60 years too, I'll warrant.

So typewriters both new and old look to be around for a long time to come, proof that even the all-embracing computer cannot kill a simple, enduring design (and indeed, through the QWERTY keyboard if nothing else, PCs owe a lot to the humble typewriter).  As long as there are companies willing to produce typewriters and their associate parts (that reminds me - anyone know where I can get some ribbons?) and people to use them, appreciate them and keep them working then the typewriter will live on!


  1. Very useful to have non-electrical items around- not just for decor either!

  2. I have a "portable" Hermes 3000 typewriter that I can barely lift! Lol...


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