End of the line for mechanical typewriters
Pesky PCs put paid to print purists
The death of the mechanical typewriter is upon us, after Godrej & Boyce recently confirmed that the firm's remaining inventory at its production plant in Shirwal, near Pune, had significantly dwindled to just 500 machines.
That company, which began production in the 1950s, had become the world's final old-school typewriter manufacturer.
But with demand being completely eradicated by computers, Godrej and Boyce called time on the humble machine in 2009 when it ceased making mechanical typewriters.
Now its inventory is reportedly down to just 500 typewriters, of which most are Arabic language models.
Up until recent years the typewriter had remained in demand in India, while in Western countries its usage had already become largely obsolete with the arrival of the personal computer.
"From the early 2000s onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us," Godrej and Boyce's general manager Milind Dukle explained to Business Standard.
"Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year."
The first commercial typewriter was manufactured in the US in 1867, and its keyboard format paved the way for the 'QWERTY' layout found on today's computers.
According to Dukle, Godrej and Boyce's prime customers work in "the defence agencies, courts and government offices”, perhaps to prevent their employees wasting time on Facebook by forcing them to use a machine with one simple function - to typewrite.
Electronic typewriters, on the other hand, are still seemingly in plentiful supply. ®
We need one for the office
Need to address an envelope
1, Put in type writer
2, Type address
1, Buy sheet of sticky labels that are supported in Word's list (which seems to only do US sizes even in the UK)
2, Type address
4, Print again with labels correct way up in tray
5, Print again because somebody sent another job to the printer and their first page got printed on your labels
6, Discover that you had the margins set wrong and the address starts off the label
7, Manually put a few spaces at the start of the address
8 goto 3
catch: Write the address by hand
Then you have the 99% of forms that aren't fillable PDFs
Forgot a step... (between 5 and 6)
New 6, Call tech support because some of the labels peeled off the backing and got stuck on the fuser/feed roller/other vital component...
Re: We need one for the office
Magnificent summing up of the process of printing throughout the history of personal computing.
A colleague of mine made the comment - almost 20 years ago - that having looked at calls to our help desk, it was clear that printing was, by a huge margin, the most difficult IT problem that people had, that it always had been and always will be.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times in the past 30+ years when the result of my printing requests have exactly matched my expectations and also been what I wanted. I currently use printers from HP, Lexmark, Epson and Canon. None of them work as one would reasonably expect. I stopped printing on labels and envelopes many years ago when the frustration and wasted material costs became unacceptable.
And don't talk to me about high quality photo printing....
Bartertown has electricity