Once upon a time, the greatest stories were written on antique devices called typewriters. In my opinion, typewriters were the basic computer. Both devices were revolutionary in their time. They are portable and increase the speed that documents can be written. The only question now is which is better? Since the computer has changed society irrevocably, is would be fair to say that computers are the superior invention. But I think not, because I know from experience that computers constantly break down, and are costly to fix/replace.
The typewriter was well-used technology that was built to last and could be found in almost every office or home. The most famous companies: Underwood, Royal, Remington and Smith and Corona created pieces of history. Without them I wonder if Ernest Hemingway or Sylvia Plath would have written their novels.
I believe that one could say that typewriters are still valuable today. For writers everywhere, a story does not feel real or come alive until it is pounded out and written in black with a classic font that cannot be found anywhere else.
I am the new owner of a 1909 Underwood 5. It is 105 years old. For less than $100, I had it cleaned, fixed (a previous owner had carried it by the carriage and bent something) and replaced it’s ancient ribbon. That investment will last 10 years, and I can order new ribbons online. Writing something on a typewriter that no one can hack into that I can hold in my hand in a tangible way is very gratifying. It’s something you just don’t get from a document saved in a file somewhere in a laptop.
The nostalgia of typewriters is preserved even today in highly popular jewelry made from the glass letter keys from old damaged typewriters.
Arianna Gabriel is a sophomore at Denis Morris Catholic High School in St. Catharines, Ont.