It seems appropriate that these typewriters are neither here nor there (or perhaps here AND there). That they are floating in limbo, looking ghostly, out of spatial focus. Because that’s what’s happened to typewriters.
For perhaps a century, manual typewriters were the workhorses of offices and schools and universities. Secretaries typed letters and documents, students typed reports and papers. Authors laboriously typed manuscripts (I know, I did two of them), fingers blackened with carbon paper, tubes of white-out at the ready to conceal inevitable mistakes.
Dah dadah dadah dadah dadah, ding! Letters scudding across a line, then ding! and throw the carriage back, again and again and again and again— I suspect this is all incomprehensible to the generations who have grown up on word processors, for whom computers do all the heavy lifting, who are unaware of how much heavy lifting there was.
Two writer friends of mine still insist on manual typewriters, and they have a tough time of it. Finding new ones is almost impossible, finding repair parts and skilled technicians to do necessary repairs to their precious machines is even more difficult. In the window of this typewriter (and computer) store on Amherst’s main street, the last of the few make a farewell appearance. The rest of the store is devoted to the mundane business of computer repairs. But compared to this vanishing species, these glamorous stars of another era, where is there any romance in computers?
Ave atque vale: to typewriters!