Does anyone remember typing? I took typing in high school. Do they still teach that? It probably comes right before Latin and after Home Economics. Maybe not. Hell, I understand they don’t even teach longhand anymore. How about that? Longhand? Longhand became script, which became cursive, which became extinct. I’m so friggin old that I refer to an extinct writing technique three generations before its demise.
I learned to type on a manual machine. Why did they put the “a” so flipping far away? I had to whack that thing with my pinky, the weakest of all fingers. All my “a’s” were two shades lighter than the rest of my letters.
At home we had an old Remington from the 1930’s. The keys used to stick together if you hit them too rapidly: clack…clack…clackclack…”Fuck.” You had to stop and flick those letters back manually. Usually happened with “the” damn I could type “the” fast.
Typing 60 words a minute was the standard of excellence. I got up to 40 not counting errors. They took away 5 words for errors. Counting errors I typed about -12 words a minute.
My mom could type about 65 a minute counting errors which she made none. That was on the old Remington. A real typist did not make errors in those days. If you made an error, erasures looked crappy, and white-out was still a snow storm. Even white-out was not acceptable for a formal letter. And don’t even get me started on carbon copies. If you made one mistake you actually made three errors when you were using carbon copies.
By the way young people, that is what the cc stands for when you cc someone.
Then there was the ink ribbon. My mom couldn’t change the film in a camera, but she could change a typewriter ribbon in minutes and never even smudge her hand.
I remember when my pops brought home an IBM Selectric he got from work. Damn that thing could fly, and no locked up keys, the letters were all on one ball. You could change the ball and type with a different font…Imagine that! Mom did not like that typewriter. She preferred the old Remington. I think she felt the IBM was cheating; it diminished the value of her skill.
Mom could “carriage return line feed” like you would not believe. It was a thing of beauty. Left hand up, flick of the wrist, and back down into perfect QWERTY position without losing any of that clack…clack rhythm. The IBM took a single electric key touch to create the same effect. Mom preferred the wrist flick…“That new return thing throws my timing all off!”
The typing skill was so marginalized by IBM electrics, white-out, and finally computers that can simply back up and retype or even auto correct that it is now completely gone the way of longhand. They even took away the keyboard clack.
Early computers made the keys clack. I think all the really good typists needed the clack to find their rhythm. When the typists became obsolete, they took the clack away.
Why am I writing about all this?
I don’t know.
Why did you read it?
Well yes Steve you are quite correct, and that is precisely what this post "The Typewriter" is all about. How perceptive of you to catch on and I am sure all my readers will check out your site because they are all worried about when children are qualified to be immersed in water. Thank you so much!ReplyDelete
Great response to Steve and I'll be sure to check out his site right now. Now back to the subject matter. I was a great typist. It was one of the skills I had when I couldn't find any other skill. But I made the transition to the electric typewriter with great joy. Man did my speed increase with that one. Some days I miss that ole thing. Computers and smart phones aren't made for great speed - at least for me.ReplyDelete
The Steve reply was better than your post!!ReplyDelete
I got though college on a typewriter, so I guess I'm pretty old too.
Ahhh! You have brought back some memories. I learned to touch type in high school at summer school, which is what a lot of college course kids did in the early 60's. Later on it became a required part of the college course curriculum. This because we were required to type our research papers both in high school and in college. My father had a Royal typewriter, which was a great improvement on the Smith Corona portable he acquired in the late 40's! I'll never forget the excitemenr when he acquired an IBM correcting selectric! Progress is an interesting study!ReplyDelete
I almost didn't graduate from high school because of typing class.ReplyDelete
Ironically, it is one skill I almost immediately put to use.
I may have to tell that story ...some day.
One semester of typing in ninth grade, and it was probably the most useful course I ever took (with mechanical drawing a close second). Typing even made my life easier in the army. At about 25 words a minute I was qualified as a clerk/typist which got me out of a lot worse duties.ReplyDelete
I took typing class in high school. On a manual typewriter. I remember white-out too. When I went to work I typed on manual typewriters and then electric type writers. Finally we went to PCs. Much easier and fixing those mistakes were a breeze.ReplyDelete
I read this post because you and I are from the same era. That's why.
Have a fabulous day. ☺
oh, yes, typing class in high school. The teacher made us put a sheet of paper over our hands to quiz us. Pretty sure I did poorly in that class.ReplyDelete
Now -- on to Steve's blog. Lovely invitation, BTW!
I took Latin instead and never learned to type. I'm an unbelievably fast hunt and pecker (Yes I admit I'm a pecker). In her prime Mrs. C. typed 95 words per minute without mistakes. She also edits my writing. You have no idea what kind of crap I'd post were it not for her.ReplyDelete
i have a 50 lb. old royal typewriter here that my sis and i shared when we were kids. still have a new ribbon for it, too (probably dried up beyond use, i'm sure).ReplyDelete
i loved the selectrics i got to use in high school. slick!
I took typing in school. I had long hair that I let hang down around my face so the teacher couldn't see me looking at the keys. I still look at the keys. Remember how we had to center things on the page...what a process that was. I'm grateful that we don't have to use typewriters, although I've got an old electric one in the garage just in case!ReplyDelete
My current keyboard clacks. My keyboard at work does not. I hate that one.ReplyDelete
They teach "keyboarding" in school these days. And my granddaughter and I had a conversation in which she said "Why don't they teach long hand any more. No one knows how to write!" She is dismayed.
I learned on a manual, but entered a workforce of electrics. I remember one "boss" one day telling a secretary she used more calories typing on the manual and should be grateful he did not buy her an electric.
My mother-in-law graduated law school in 1925. When applying for a job at a law firm, she was asked how many words per minute she could type!!ReplyDelete
Fran, I'm sure they asked the male law school graduates the same question. No?Delete
Oh no you did it. I mean one of my projects in the line up for blog posts was "typewriter and typing"ReplyDelete
But you did a better job of it. Yes we too had a Remington (though not as old as the one in the pic) My mom joined the Railways as a typist from where she graduated to a Sr typist and finally retired as a Head Clerk. So I learned most of the tricks of typing from her (like I learned a few tricks from my father about stitching on a machine)
I did see the slow transition from the typewriter to the present keypad.
And even now its two finger typing for me as I graduated only till asdfg:lkjh
asdfg:lkjh!! Watch your language we try and run a clean blog here.Delete
Actually that's a good one.
In high school, I took typing class and we used computers. They still called it typing. My typing speed sucked. I used a mix of typing and hunt and peck. the speed is faster now. My typing teacher would not be proud. It works for me.ReplyDelete
Okay, first of all -- Steve? Now, I usually am the one to type out long comments, but his is a bit much.ReplyDelete
I took typing in middle school, and we had those typewriters, too, where you had to hit the carriage return bar with your left hand. I liked my typing class but hated the teacher. He was a jerk and rarely talked to us. He just grunted commands and made sour faces at us. One day, as a joke, I snuck into the typing room before school began and glued caps (the kind that go in the old fashioned cap guns) on all of the typewriter keys, on every single typewriter! Yeah, it took some time but I had a friend helping me. Anyway, we listened from two classrooms down to all the BANG! BANG! BANG! as the students began warming up in the typing room during first period. It was such a successful prank that it even sent the typing teacher home that day for "frazzled nerves" -- yeah, that was a great prank that I pulled off. Oh wait - was that me? or was that Tex McCormick from the book "Tex" by S.E. Hinton? Oh yea...that was Tex. Not me. I should have known. I don't have the mind to come up with a prank like that. Ah well.
It looks like your typewriter post touched a few chords with those of us who are old enough to remember typing class. Doc's dad owned a shop that sold and repaired typewriters so we have ended up with a few old ones in the basement, but it has been decades since I tried to use one.ReplyDelete
OMGosh this post brought back memories of the old typewriter! Many years back I did a little work doing dictation for doctors. I will never forget the time they added a new physician to the group who happened to be oriental. I had my headphones on typing away and he started speaking- fast very fast. I had to call his nurse to help me. After that she left a little post it reminder. TG for post it's!ReplyDelete
I read it cause the subject interests me & I have a rant on the subject. The background is that being a semi accomplished piano player as a youth I could easily type 60+ a minute with few if any errors. I could easily duplicate that on the keyboard of our recently deceased Dell computer. Not any more . The cursor jumps all over on our recently purchased, at my spouses "request", laptop. Even worse its so sensitive hitting any key is a random adventure in what you get. I'm now typing at about 5 syllabics per minute. THis is what passes for progress in the 21st . My son says I should get a cell phone with aReplyDelete
really small keyboard. HA!
I am pleased to announce that I won the typing award in my high school during the year I took a typing class. Yes, I am quite proud. After correcting for errors, my championship typing rate was 42 words per minute. Which probably says more about the caliber of typists in my school than it does about my skill.ReplyDelete
We used the old manual typewriters, and for corrections, we used one of those pencil-shaped erasers that you had to sharpen, and had a little brush thingy on the end for scraping away the eraser crumbs. I was THRILLED when I found out about correction tape.
I think I learned to type on a similar machine that you featured here with the manual typewriter and self taught myself with a book when I was all of 13 years old. I took typing the 4 years of high school. My highest speed I could get was about 90 words a minute. I loved the IBM Selective typewriters; so cool to have the fingers flying through there and loved when they added the correcting option too. Since my work does involve typing, this post of yours was interesting, thus that's why I read it :)ReplyDelete
OMG...you did bring back memories! I learned typing in high school, on a manual typewriter. I was a decent typist, as long as you didn't have me type a lot of numbers. I STILL have to look when typing numbers (thank God for the numeric keypad...I don't have to look there).ReplyDelete
When I came to the U.S., I found out that the "y" and the "z" switched positions. For quite a while, I made silly mistakes like tzping mz ex-husbands term papers with those letters mixed up. He got over it, and so did I. Now I have trouble when I tzpe on German kezboards... :-)
Wow.. Now *I* miss those typewriters! And so weird, I was just looking through a catalog we get, 'The Vermont Country Store,' it has lots of oldies in it and it has a typewriter! I seriously considered ordering it just for the old feel and the clickity clack sound of tappin' out my novel. Great post. Great memories. Thanks for stopping by my place. :)ReplyDelete
I remember our old Smith Corona manual well. I took it to college with me and banged out more than a few term papers. I thought our first IBM was the greatest thing ever. Then came a dedicated word processor, and finally WORD. Throughout them all, however, I always had spastic fingers. Like you, I probably typed in negative numbers. :)ReplyDelete
I believe in transition lies growth.ReplyDelete
probably, that's why.
I still have to use one at work sometimes. The courts are way behind technology wise and so certain things we have to type on the typewriter. I do love the sound it makes though.ReplyDelete
I did typing in high school too and hated it. I thought is enjoy it because I had loved my little manual type writer I got for Christmas when I was nine that I used to write short stories on at home. I remember typing in school like this: using the manual typewriters: hard work and impossible to get enough strength in your ring finger and pinky. Using the electric typewriter: mistakenly typing aaaaaa when you tried to hit a just once.ReplyDelete
At work I used two finger typing and at one point took a touch typing class but found it too hard. Along the way though over the years I've developed my own version of touch typing which is probably almost as good. Last time I tested myself (which was years ago) I typed 60 words per minute.
Thank god computers replaced typewriters, I say.