Monday, August 6, 2012

OBITUARY FOR THE TYPEWRITER: and a typewriter lover

I came across this 2008 obituary of a typewriter expert and repairman named Norman Tytell entirely by chance, a tiny gemlike gift from the randomness of the Internet. The writing is beautiful and the vision of a life filled with love for a craft equally so.

ANYONE who had dealings with manual typewriters—the past tense, sadly, is necessary—knew that they were not mere machines. Eased heavily from the box, they would sit on the desk with an air of expectancy, like a concert grand once the lid is raised. On older models the keys, metal-rimmed with white inlay, invited the user to play forceful concertos on them, while the silvery type-bars rose and fell chittering and whispering from their beds. Such sounds once filled the offices of the world, and Martin Tytell's life.

I wish that I could praise the author by name, but there's no byline I can find. You can read the equally wonderful remainder of the piece on the website of The Economist.

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