They don’t produce mechanical typewriters anymore because of the digital revolution, though some states in the USA continue to require by law that death certificates be issued only with a real mechanical typewriter. This, too, however will one day come to pass soon enough… The first patent for such a gizmo dates back to 1714. The technology of the day did not allow for its construction, and so most of the world had to use ink and paper until the second part of the 19th century when technology and patents could finally catch up to each other. By 1900 as many as 10,000 typewriters were being sold yearly in the US alone.
Ofcourse, this is not such a sad story because today the typewriter has been incorporated into every computer in the world. So much so that I don’t know anyone who can not type, even if it is with two fingers! Sales of word processors are on the rise (billions of $) and then there are zillions of good free processors out there. I use OpenOffice for most of my work, though I also have Word installed, but use it only as a back up.
Nostalgically, I remember having to be dragged kicking and screaming into my first typing course at highschool way back at the end of the 1960’s when I attended RoseMount High in Montreal. In those days typing was considered something only for girls, but because my family moved late in the summer that year I could not pick and choose my course load. My views on this stereotype soon changed when I discovered that my assigned teacher was a male: Mr. Hyrcha.
Mr. Hyrcha was a 40-ish career teacher who inspired his students to learn typing, something quite a radical departure from the conservative text-book approach used up to then. He felt that , if the student would learn nothing else while at school, learning to type could be a real asset in the years ahead. (History proved him right!) Most of the students, myself included, did not have a typewriter at home on which to practice and hone the necessary skills, so Mr. Hyrcha taught us all to visualize the keyboard layout and then to train the fingers to hit the imaginary keys.
Looking back, I think that learning to type was about the only important thing I learned from my 4-years at RHS–that and chess, ofcourse. Mr. Hyrcha’s mental training techniques were easy to adapt to chess and so might explain why I quickly developed a talent for the game.
Trump is Coming!
A good chuckle this morning, especially as Trump is about to take control later this month. 2016 has seen many of our favourite icons disappear, and what happened in the US election–for many millions of Americans–can only be described as earth shaking.
Vintage Chess Ads…
Cointreau…the Art of Lingering Chess Game (1973)
Fine Arts Whiskey, Chess Pieces (1945)
General Electric Television Chess Game Pieces (1958)
Highland Queen Scotch Chess Game Pieces (1936)
Hamilton Watch Chess Six Watches Detailed (1947)
Kentucky Tavern Whiskey Chess Game Board (1946)
Tab by Coke Coca Cola Chess Game Pieces (1964)
Popular food brand from the 1930’s