Clickety clack, typewriters are back


I’m writing this column on a typewriter. Seriously.

It’s the first newspaper column I’ve written on a typewriter since May 1990, when we bought two Mac Plus computers and a primitive version of Microsoft Word for the Webster County Citizen, the weekly newspaper Helen and I owned in Seymour.

I was inspired to return to a typewriter, at least this once, in part after reading a recent Associated Press article headlined, “Vintage typewriters gain fans amid ‘digital burnout.’”

Apparently, renewed interest in the typewriter began about a decade ago, ironically, online. “Since then, the fan base has grown dramatically, and various public events have been organized around the typewriter,” the article said.

I was doubly inspired when Helen and I visited an antique mall in Marshfield on a rainy Sunday and saw a 50-year-old Smith Corona Super Sterling portable typewriter and case sitting on the counter. It appeared to be brand new, with tags still attached.

And it was beautiful!

Helen and I took typewriters just like that one to college in 1969. My parents gave mine to me in high school before the summer that I attended a journalism workshop at the University of Wisconsin.

(Unfortunately considering my career choice, Dad wouldn’t let me take typing class in high school, steering me toward advanced-math classes, which I hated. So, a half-century later, I still can’t do math, and I still type with two fingers.)

The price was right on that new/old typewriter at the antique mall, and I almost bought it. But Helen, who is practical besides knowing math and being an excellent typist, asked, “What are you going to do with it?” And, while thinking of an answer that would satisfy her, I remembered that I already had an almost-new portable typewriter in the closet.

So here I am, pounding away with a couple painfully arthritic fingers on a made-in-Mexico Olivetti Lettera 25 that I bought second-hand 20 years ago from Joyce Petrikat, one of our newspaper subscribers in Seymour.

For the complete column, see the Weekend print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.


The Laclede County Record

100 E. Commercial St.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-9131