Manual typewriters said to be alive and well

Several weeks ago we mention in this column we came across our old electric Smith-Corona portable typewriter and it brought back memories of writing our column and how our computer world has now changed the old-style mechanical “typing and deleting” to more physical ease. The evolution has also brought frustration to many of us who are still slow learners in this computer-tech world.
We recently received a typewritten letter from reader John Cooper of Portland Ore., in which she tells that typewriting has not been lost in history, or at least yet. John says: “I read your column about typewriters with interest. You might be interested to know that far from being lost to history, many manual typewriters – including this one – are alive and in use. Typewriters are popular among people who appreciate their mechanical ingenuity, and especially with those who recognize the advantages of having to think before they commit ink to paper. Not only is it a whole different way of exercising one’s brain, the physical work of using a manual typewriter is pleasant as well, particularly after many years of using increasingly insubstantial keyboards.
  Well-restored vintage typewriters – and not a few junky ones – are commanding high prices in cities, where most typewriter enthusiasts live. There are at least two recent feature documentaries about the typewriter renaissance, including California Typewriter  which features an appearance by Tom Hanks.
Naturally, if ironically, a lot of typewriter-related activity is on the Web. My favorite page is The Classic Typewriter Page ( The site Welcome to the Typosphere  ( serves as a directory of lots of sites.
Although I now prefer manuals, I hope you’ll give your rediscovered Smith-Corona electric a spin. I bet you’ll enjoy it!
Yours sincerely: John Cooper, 9144 N Smith St, Portland OR 97203.”
    John apparently is a much better typist than this old newspaper writer. John’s letter was near error-free. He used only two “XX’s” to block out the mistyped word “to.” In our days of typewriter usage we continually went through plenty of erasing, “white-out,” or retyping. And “Oh yes,” we didn’t get them all! Some typos still reached the printed newspaper.
Someone predicted the world was to come to an end this July 4. If that prediction came true, it should have added quite a bit of color and excitement to our Wednesday’s Fourth of July celebration.
RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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