Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The last typewriter in the world
If you still have an old typwriter, hang onto it. It's not only a veteran of a bygone age, but it is about to become rare and valuable. A story in The Hindu by Shivani Jainridhima Shukla muses about the demise of the last typewriter factory -- which, believe it not, is/was in India -- and the effect it will have in his land.
Yes, Godrej and Boyce, the last company in the world still manufacturing typewriters, has ceased operations. Clerks in New Delhi and Calcutta will still cart their old Remingtons (manufactured by Godrej and Boyce) from court house to office, saying they can't afford the electricity, so the clack of mechanical keys will still be heard there. But will it be noticed in America, Europe, China and Japan? Probably not.
Yet, the typewriter was a driving force in the liberation of Western women, as well as in the business world of India. Up until the production of the first readily usable typewriter by firearms manufacturers E. Remington & Sons of Ilion, New York, in 1873, women were trapped in domestic jobs, working as cleaners, cooks, housemaids, and seamstresses. Up until that year, all clerks were men, but somehow, miraculously, women made the typewriter their own, and made the downtown office female territory.