Typing To The Rhythm Of An Old Technology

The Remington typewriter.
The Remington typewriter.

The typewriter has now become a metonym for the experience of newswriting—and writing at large—in the 20th century.

But nearly 30 years after typewriters disappeared from newsrooms in the late 1980s, The Times—now headquartered in Wapping—is bringing back a strain from old Fleet Street: the clatter of the old-fashioned typewriter.

A tall speaker, on a stand, has been erected in the newsroom to pump out typewriter sounds, to increase energy levels, and help reporters to hit deadlines. The audio begins with the gentle patter of a single typewriter, and slowly builds to a crescendo, with the keys of ranks of machines hammering down as the paper’s print edition is due to go to press.

The initiative coincides with a revival of interest in the typewriter, a trend reflected in the development of a bestselling app by Tom Hanks—the Hanx Writer—which simulates the sound of ancient typewriters: an Olivetti, a Remington, a Royal.



2 thoughts on “Typing To The Rhythm Of An Old Technology”

  1. Nice. Clicketty-click… I remember buying my first electric typewriter in Grad school!
    And on the computer side we were already switching from punching cards to terminals!
    (And Steve Jobs was already fiddling in a garage)
    Thanks Alakananda for the memory.
    (I still have my mother’s old typewriter stored in a safe place. It may be useful if the Web explodes!)


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