The death sentence is out officially! India has officially discontinued use of type writers in all its day to day operations!!! Type writer is no more!! Let’s pay our last tributes to this incredible machine.
For the generation who grew up on Imax Multiplexes, Mc Donald’s Burgers, Levis Jeans and the more recent advent of iPads (which has endangered the existence of desktops and laptops), the end of a Golden era of Type writer may look insignificant. But like every industrial item of its day, Typewriter has had its days of glory.
Typewriter – The Birth, Rise and Fall
1) The Birth
In olden days i.e. just around the days of independence, the employees called Muneems used to write with their hands all the official correspondence, be it in remote villages or most modern cities.
As with any manual tasks, the job used to be filled with errors, deletions, alterations and to put it in a single word ‘cumbersome’, to say the least. Even after bringing out the written paper, the writing style was horrible most of the times. It consumed more paper (for writing as well as replacing wrongly typed pages) and more time.
The type writer changed the whole scene dramatically. It took out the errors in typing, reduced the consumption of paper, and saved time – meaning more productivity.
2) The Rise
With the advent of Type writer came the more fashionable era of armies of typewriting employees. A new set of jobs were created. It was not a fast entry for the type writer. In earlier days the type writers were so expensive that only the best offices could afford them. Slowly, the imported expensive Remington was replaced with local ones with Godrej bringing out the first type writer domestically. Gradually, its use spread to every nook and corner of India.
The importance of Type writer to the Indian economy was evident from the fact that upon its release of the first Type writer, the then Prime Minister Mr. Nehru had congratulated Adi Godrej for taking India to the league of technologically advanced nations.
If you watch any Indian movie made around 1960s through late 1970s, every ideal rich educated Hero has an office with rows of typist girls (and an occasional male typist) who rise up when the boss enters the office and greet ‘Good morning, Sir!’. Sanjeev Kumar is a best example.
3) The Fall
We can not say as to when the fall of type writers started. Was it with the introduction of cyclostyle machines which can make more copies – around 20 compared to the maximum 4 copies of the carbon papered original? Or was it with the advent of electronic type writers – where you can have separate discs for different fonts, you can erase wrongly punched keys before actual typing?
More so, when Computers made entry, the writing was on the wall. However, the inevitable was delayed due to the same reasons which caused the slow spread of type writers in the first place. Like all inventions, computers were also very expensive initially so people stuck to the type writers. Slowly with prices of computers coming down, the relevance of Type writers got lost for ever.
Even the production of Type writers was stopped in India recently with the shut down of the last manufacturing plant of Godrej.
Though it was learnt that Government has stopped using type writers, the last few type writers are still in use in Government offices to test the speed of the Type writers (or present day data entry operators). Slowly, that too will be done on computers.
Though it was a very heavy, noisy, stressful machine for fingers, it served its cause during its life cycle all around the world. Let’s salute the Type Writer.