The end of an era

The last typewriter to be built in the UK rolled off the production line today and was immediately donated to the Science Museum in London. Typewriters, it seems, are now officially history.


When I was younger I had a typewriter (I have no idea what happened to it). I liked using it for several reasons – the retro look, the sound of the keys, the feeling that somehow a desk with a typewriter was more of a real writer’s desk. Perhaps I’m just a traditionalist. I write pretty much everything now in notebooks before typing it onto a computer – I like the act of writing, and I like the look of all the full notebooks on my shelves.

The best point in the above article – Five Reasons to Still Use a Typewriter – is that they are distraction free. As someone who is easily distracted by social media, news websites and minesweeper, its nice to think of a machine that has none of these things. Back when I used my typewriter, we had one PC shared by the whole family and the internet was in its infancy (no Twitter or Facebook or livestreaming of TV programmes). So perhaps I should figure out what happened to that machine – it will probably be more useful now than ever.

More than that, a typewriter makes you think more carefully about what you are writing. You edit as you go, before you commit anything to paper (just like writing in notebooks). Mistakes aren’t as easy to correct as they are on a computer.

“I’ve gone back to using a typewriter for the first draft. It forces you to think. Instead of going, ‘She wore a red dress. Wait, that’s banal, I’ll make it purple or green…’ you think, ‘Right, what colour was her dress.’ It brings order back into your mind.”

Will Self


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