Saturday, April 25, 2020
Why? Here's why.
Tom Hanks, patron saint of manual typewriters, wrote an article in The New York Times seven years ago explaining his fascination for these vintage machines. He cites their three benefits:
1. Noise! The clanging of manual typewriter keys has a solid sound accompanied by a bell that rings loudly when you've reached the end of a line. These sounds remind us viscerally of the physical existence of our communication. You can write e-mail on your laptop silently but pound out a letter on paper and you know you've created something real.
2. "[T]he sheer physical pleasure of typing; it feels just as good as it sounds, the muscles in your hands control the volume and cadence of the aural assault so that the room echoes with the staccato beat of your synapses." I can attest to this from personal experience. Pounding typewriter keys with your fingers is fun and good exercise.
3. "[T]he third reason to write with a relic of yesteryear: permanence. Short of chiseled words in stone, few handmade items last longer than a typed letter, for the ink is physically stamped into the very fibers of the paper, not layered onto the surface as with a laser-printed document."
Yes, typed paper is indelibly transformed into permanent records of our thoughts. Sometimes during my work I come across a typed document that's 50-100 years old (e.g., real estate deed) and am amazed by its magical quality. The document survived time in a way electronic records never will. I collect these special objects and plan to display them in my future personal museum.
As Tom notes, "300 years from now a thank-you note [you type] may exist in the collection of an aficionado who treasures it the same as a Bill of Sale from 1776 for one dozen well-made casks from Ye Olde Ale Shoppe." Yup, we're making history.
Join the club. Type a letter today!