According to Mashable the last manufacturer of the typewriter has closed its doors: click here for article. I am dating myself, but I remember taking typing classes on…typewriters! I did not have a fancy iPhone or Android phone so was not born with a qwerty key board in my hands. I used to have to write my essays on paper…gasp. I had to wrestle with a typewriter when I was applying to colleges, making sure my paper applications aligned properly with the keys, now kids just fill out simple on line forms! When I was in college I was able to borrow my friends word processors, the technology savvy cousin to the typewriter. I spent many a late nights staring blindly into a light grey screen with simple text. In graduate school I finally moved up to a full blown computer – granted it was a Compaq desk top not a fancy laptop.
Today I type on my iPhone, my laptop, my iPad and even my television screen. I think there is an old typewriter somewhere in my parents house, I will need to find it and send it to some museum or just keep it so I can one day show my grandkids what I had to endure to publish a document. Where it actually took some physical strength to put words on paper and where Courier was the only font one could choose!
The end of the typewriter is a reminder of how quickly technology moves. The first patent for the typewriter came out in 1868, that is a pretty good run for technology. Because of its mechanics we are forever (well at least for the foreseeable future) destined to type on a qwerty keyboard, rather than one where the keys are more efficiently positioned. The typewriter is also a great case study for the value of open standards – how many devices have a non qwerty keyboard? The typewriter had its day in the sun, and will forever hold a place in the halls of game changing technologies. However, like the VCR, rotary phone, Atari and countless other technologies will make way for newer, faster, cooler and more powerful devices and technologies.
What technology or device do we have today that could last for 100 years in its existing form?