Why Typewriters?

1920s Underwood 5 typewriter
This question seems to come up an awful lot.  I personally prefer typewriters over computers, for many reasons.  The first, I think, is the fact that typewriters offer distraction-free writing.  This is especially important for writing boring school papers, or trying to stay focused on a long work of fiction.  Before I get into any detail on why I think they’re better, I’d like to dispel a few myths first.

1) Typewriters are hard to use
Absolutely not true.  Typewriters were engineered to be very convenient, and many well made machines allow you to type extremely fast, and have a feather-light touch.  Not much different from an old mechanical keyboard from Microsoft.
Also, many people complain about the lack of a one key, or an exclamation point.  The short answer to this, is to find a machine that does have these characters.  Many people dislike typing a lowercase “L” or hitting the apostrophe and a period for an exclamation.  Machines with designated “1” and “!” keys have existed as far back as the 1890’s.

2) Typewriters are expensive
Kind of true.  Depends on the machines you want to buy.  Machines before 1960 are going to be anywhere from $150 to several thousand.  Machines afterwards can be found from as little as a dollar, sometimes free, or $100, and they work just fine.

3) They are blotchy and uneven.
Very false, unless you have a Typecast Typewriter, or an abused machine.  Typewriters, after maintenance (if needed) type ruler straight and as crisp as the text you see on your screen.

4) You can’t find ribbon anywhere
Go look in Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, Microcenter, Target, or anywhere office supplies are sold.  I personally get my ribbons from Office Depot at $14 for six, and that’s multiple year’s supply.  I prefer to wind them into the original spools to avoid mechanical issues.  And remember, the red side goes on the bottom.  You’ll be looking for “universal spool ribbon,” or “calculator ribbon.”  They should be standard sized, or 1/2 inch.

Okay, so now for why they’re better.
1) no harsh light from paper.
2) no radiation
3) no power source
4) no distraction
5) portable and sturdy
6) will outlast your computer by a few hundred years.
7) they don’t buffer, don’t load, don’t crash, don’t update, don’t have pop ups, don’t freeze, and don’t corrupt data.
8) they’re easy to use
9) force you to become a better speller, and improves grammar

1) you can’t delete (without white out)
2) they eat trees

1920s Underwood 5 (mint condition)


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