Real Typewriters Become Retro USB Keyboards
Author: Richard Darell
The transition from a typewriter to a computer has been one of the most significant technological changes in our history. Being able to do exactly the same things as you could on a typewriter, and of course a bunch more, has been an optimization that I think we could talk about for days. The ability to just open up a word processor and start typing without being limited to ink bands and paper has been the inspiration for many now famous authors. But that is not really where it all becomes a revolution. It’s about the whole thing that comes with a keyboard hooked up to a screen that makes it all into a computer. It’s the ability to do almost whatever you want on the screen that has spurred the creativity of countless innovators.
There are of course people out there who miss the old retro ways of typing their thoughts which a computer doesn’t really supply. The sound for example, and the pressure of the keys are fundamentally different. Maybe that is why the people over at USB Typewriters thought that taking old and retro typewriters and converting them to fully working computer keyboards was as good an idea as any.
In their inventory, they have boatloads of typewriters that are converted into badass USB computer keyboards. They vary in price and all have different features. You can get one “cheap” for just $699 or go for one of the more advanced models that will set you back a cool $799. I find it kind of cool that you can now have both worlds without leaving any of the wanted features out just because they are old school. Is this an advancement made in technology? Not really. However, the retrofication of this old and quite robust way of typing is actually a truly inspiring thing. I don’t think I would get one myself, but I am sure there are tons of people out there who would love to have the ability to do their work on an old typewriter hooked up to their computer. It’s all so… retro! We like retro!
COMMENT: I am a pre-computer person. I learned to type in high school – most useful course I took – and typed on a variety of typewriters through graduate school. Back in the day before copy machines valuable documents had to be typed at least twice. Lose the original with no backup and you were fried. So I grew up with the feel of mechanical keys and the ability to pound out page after page as long as I could place my fingers on a full keyboard. I’ve never found a computer keyboard I could love. I like to pound the keys; feel the resistance. The touch screen keyboards on iToys totally suck. Computer keyboards are designed, I think, for those who don’t type, i.e., use both hands and focus the eyes on the screen and not the keyboard: people who type with two fingers, eyes never leaving the keyboard; thumb typists or texters; and anarchic, self-taught typists who can get up some speed using more than two fingers. Wedding a computer to a typewriter is a wonderful idea for people like me. But the price!! I have at least two old manual typewriters stashed in the attic and one electric. Wonder how difficult it would be to make a conversion.