Do You Miss Typewriters?

Every once in awhile, I get nostalgic, and bring out my old manual typewriter.

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I brought this “Torpedo” to college with me, and I actually have a big old Remington typewriter from the 1950s in storage that belonged to my dad. These typewriters have moved with me cross-country many times. I can’t bring myself to get rid of these relics. However, I did give away two other big old Remingtons that belonged to dad decades ago and the metal typewriter table that he used to have.

In the 1980s, I typed out my first book on the Torpedo. This portable even has a nifty carrying case that I used to slip under the airplane seat in front of me, when I traveled to school in California.

I guess I’m not the only one who is nostalgic. The American Writers Museum in Chicago currently has an exhibit of manual typewriters, many belonging to famous writers.

For me, there is something creative about pounding out words on a typewriter. I sometimes think I am more creative when I do this, rather than gently typing on keyboards. I even have a package of old blue carbon paper that I used to copy my typewriter pages with. And, I have typewriter ribbons as replacements.

Incidentally, the typewriter metal letter keys can be cleaned with rubbing alcohol pads. It’s hard to find people who service manual typewriters, but there is probably one in each large metropolitan area, if you look hard enough.

As one might expect, nostalgic as I am, I have old fountain pens and even an old ink well. The pens belonged to my parents and grandparents.

Any other writers out there who are nostalgic for these tools of the trade?

Copyright 2020 by Charlotte Digregorio.

About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. In 2018, I was honored by the Governor of Illinois for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of seven books including: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; Your Original Personal Ad; and my latest, Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu by Charlotte Digregorio." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry. I have won fifty-nine poetry awards, writing fourteen poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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8 Responses to Do You Miss Typewriters?

  1. aloha Charlotte,

    my college days portable was an Olivetti my mother got for me when i was going to college.

    yes, i still have it. it’s a dusty green hard metal with a soft carrying case. mom taught me to type because i’d wanted to learn. mom had not been able to go to college because of WW2. she went to Washington DC because office staff was needed and she could type.

    i like the way type written pages look. the variation in smudged or fading letters, thin and thicker lines and edges, and the gloppy centers of enclosed areas of a letter, somehow this appeals to me. in that sense i miss it.

    being a visual artist I’m not surprised that it’s the visual i’m attracted to. each typewritten page is unique and can be seen in the look of pages written on a specific machine. sometimes you can even tell who typed something because of the pressure used when typing each letter.

    the sound of typing has an appeal as well. fast, slow, gentle, hard pounding, hesitant, exploring, confident, tentative, the sound often told a lot about who was typing. starting a good writing session sounded like the starting up of an engine. and when you were really going, it was a locomotive, rocking, rolling and clacking down the tracks, laying down the lines that readers can follow to what ever destination the writer chose. fun memories.

    there are fonts that emulate specific machines. i’ve played with those fonts in haiga a few years ago, even tho every letter is the same. it was close, but you still can’t tell who typed it because it’s not finger pressure that transmits the letter to the page. still, it was fun.

    now, i find other ways to make what i do individually mine. i miss that look at times, so it’s fun to go after it. fun on. aloha rick

    clatter-clack
    once the typewriter day
    of a writer

  2. I don’t miss my typewriter at all. I’m a poor typist, always made too many mistakes, and they weren’t easily corrected.

  3. Carl Setzer says:

    I learned to type on IBM Selectrics and have an old electric Brother in my garage that my father gave me decades ago. I’m very fond of it, though it hasn’t been plugged in since…it might be before my son was born (17+ years ago). I do love the machines, perhaps some sort of retro thing. I, too, love pens and manual typewriters, though I don’t own any really fine pens and no manual machines.

    Ah, nostalgia!

  4. Is there any sound more beautiful than typewriter keys pounding away? My surviving one, a pale blue Olivetti portable with matching case, once belonged to my ex-husband. But he took the more valuable Royal when he left.

    I too have a collection of inherited fountain pens and use them for writing drafts. And sometimes they become part of the story:

    2 am
    purple ink stains
    my left hand

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