until When Where Typewriters in Active Use among the Mainstream?

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Until when where typewriters in active use among the mainstream population?

“What benefits do typewriters have over computers?” Do Not Disturb. Apart from the benefits already mentioned — like no electricity required, immediate hard copy, no distractions from online notifications, cheap, easy filling out forms and envelopes — what I enjoy about writing on a typewriter has to do with being a writer. When I was still married, my wife and kids would often disturb me when I was working on my laptop, because t figured that I was just entertaining myself instead of researching and writing. Now, working on my typewriter, it’s obvious that I’m writing and not dicking around. Another thing is that writers tend to be easily distracted by ‘options’ like formatting, but writing rough drafts on paper makes any formatting concerns an issue of the editing stage. When I compose on the typewriter, I don’t care about typos and other mistakes, as the rough draft will not be read by anyone but myself. I don’t go back to correct typos with white-out/Tipp-Ex, as the draft will be retyped on the computer to facilitate sending it to beta readers and prepping it for publication. So writing the drafts on a typewriter allows me to concentrate fully on the creative process and block out my Inner Editor. Edited to add. Someone asked me how I got my Olympia SM4 De Luxe. I bought it on Dutch ‘Marktplaats’ for 25 euro. It came with its hard shell case and original brush. It’s in such mint condition that I only needed to clean the typebars. It’s a marvellous machine, I don’t think I’ll sell this one. I did sell my Olivettis. If you want to buy a vintage typewriter, it pays to buy one from the 50–70s, preferably an Olympia, Olivetti, Remington, Royal, or Hermes. It’s important though to know how to look for flaws and, if you cannot inspect it personally before buying, to ask the owner to type (and photograph). ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ (also in capital letters) to assure yourself that all the keys still work. Also, don’t buy a typewriter through eBay — vintage machines go for highly inflated prices. My Olympia SM4 would go for $250–350, but it should be something between $50–100. If you can get a working machine like mine for below $50, I’d snap it up. Don’t pay too much, though. Vintage machines are suddenly fashionable, but most machines (unless t have weird design features, like the Hammond) aren’t worth more than $50–75, because t’re not collectibles, even if t are collected. Do some research first, so you won’t get stiffed over a ‘rare’ vintage machine.

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Here's an excellent website that gives tips on checking vintage typewriters for serviceability, such as when to replace the keys, what keys to use, the minimum service required, and much more. In my opinion, a typewriter that is in serviceable condition needs about two years of good use before anyone will consider it a vintage typewriter. However, I don’t own one, so I can’t give you true advice on this. This is just my opinion. I guess this is worth a try, at least once. For the love of God, check out the link above first. After reading that, then go ahead and send any typewriter you find that I can use. Then go ahead and check out the vintage typewriter sites listed above as well. Good luck! —Dave W.

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