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back to article End of the line for mechanical typewriters

The death of the mechanical typewriter is upon us, after Godrej & Boyce recently confirmed that the firm's remaining inventory at its production plant in Shirwal, near Pune, had significantly dwindled to just 500 machines. That company, which began production in the 1950s, had become the world's final old-school typewriter …

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Silver badge

We need one for the office

Need to address an envelope

1, Put in type writer

2, Type address

Alternative

1, Buy sheet of sticky labels that are supported in Word's list (which seems to only do US sizes even in the UK)

2, Type address

3, Print

4, Print again with labels correct way up in tray

5, Print again because somebody sent another job to the printer and their first page got printed on your labels

6, Discover that you had the margins set wrong and the address starts off the label

7, Manually put a few spaces at the start of the address

8 goto 3

catch: Write the address by hand

Then you have the 99% of forms that aren't fillable PDFs

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Anonymous Coward

Window envelopes

Window envelopes

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1

Or...

Print directly onto the envelopes... If the cheap and cheerful laser printer I use at home can accept a stack of envelopes in its sheet feeder and spit them out all neatly addressed (and it can) then I see no reason why an office-grade printer shouldn't be able to do the same.

If you really do have to use labels, then it's worth putting in a bit of effort up front to generate custom templates which match the layout of the labels/margins of the printer you actually have, rather than constantly having to tweak the preset templates provided with Word. Of course, this doesn't get around the problem you have with label sheets that are laid out asymetrically with a wider border at one end of the sheet than at the other, but it does make life a lot easier.

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Alternatively

try something like a Dymo Label Writer for smallish quantities or a printer with envelope feeder for larger print runs - either of which should be cost effective compared to someone spending type typing addresses on typewriter

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Boffin

Forgot a step... (between 5 and 6)

New 6, Call tech support because some of the labels peeled off the backing and got stuck on the fuser/feed roller/other vital component...

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Silver badge

Then you have the 99% of forms that aren't fillable PDFs

Ah yes. I 'fixed' that problem myself, scanning the form, then placing the fillable PDF fields over the form. Now you just need to fill out the form, remove the background image from the original form ... and TADA! Everything prints in its place!

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Window envelopes are clearly the answer, but failing that...

Pick up pen

Write address

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FAIL

are you for real?

9, Lean to use a computer you dolt, this is a bloody IT news site, what are you doing here?

Non-fillable PDF? I just printscreen and paste them to an image editor if I really feel the need to have printed text on them. You see computers are not some big scary complex thing, you've just got to engage the old grey matter a little and you'll soon have a solution simpler and more elegant than pissing about with type writer ribbons, realising the damn thing has jammed up because someone left the dust cover off, waiting for tipex to dry because CTRL+Z doesn't work.

I know you're just trolling but really, this is pathetic.

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Nawab of Travancore - This is today's title

For non-fillable PDFs there are several free solutions available (NitroPDF is one example) that allow you to add text boxes to any PDF. You can even save the PDF with your data in it.

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Anonymous Coward

I know you're just trolling but really, this is pathetic.

You've just got to engage the old grey matter a little and you'll soon have a solution simpler and more elegant than pissing about with DIMMs because Windows Vista has run out of memory again, realising the damn thing has jammed up because someone forgot to defrag the harddrive, waiting for tipex to dry because CTRL+Z doesn't work in Notepad.

I know you're just trolling but really, this is pathetic.

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Thumb Up

Re: We need one for the office

Magnificent summing up of the process of printing throughout the history of personal computing.

A colleague of mine made the comment - almost 20 years ago - that having looked at calls to our help desk, it was clear that printing was, by a huge margin, the most difficult IT problem that people had, that it always had been and always will be.

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times in the past 30+ years when the result of my printing requests have exactly matched my expectations and also been what I wanted. I currently use printers from HP, Lexmark, Epson and Canon. None of them work as one would reasonably expect. I stopped printing on labels and envelopes many years ago when the frustration and wasted material costs became unacceptable.

And don't talk to me about high quality photo printing....

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lettersandordigits

Well, let me see, I've never struggled with running out of memory, forgetting to defrag the harddrive doesn't exactly jam it up and is easily remedied with.. well defragging the harddrive, not to mention scheduled tasks.

And finally, CTRL+Z does work in notepad, as do the delete key, backspace key and highlight>righ click> delete. Now how do you delete an error on a mechanical type writer?

Why AC? Oh, because you know you don't know what you're talking about.

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Joke

But how do you get high quality photo printing

I mean, you have to be able to get your best pr0nz on your B0 somehow...?

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Anonymous Coward

Godrej - still going

What a conglomerate - the company is thriving:

http://www.godrej.com/godrej/godrej/ourproducts.aspx?id=1&menuid=1167

I thought conglomerates were not in fashion any more...

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Anonymous Coward

While you are looking at Indian conglomerates

Check out Tata.

Everything from software to ... owning Jaguar and Landrover.

They make a bit of steel, on the side too. More than anyone else, actually!

(well, not sure, but in the world's top few steel producers)

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Happy

lettersandnumbersandstuff

actually it's "Jaguar Landrover", they're more of a single entity these days.

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Anonymous Coward

Culture

Godrej and Tata were both founded by Parsi Indians - both conglomerates and still thriving - of course, they are now both so big that I'm sure Parsi's don't control the companies any more.

The Korean's like conglomerates as well... there are quite a few still around:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conglomerates

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Anonymous Coward

Conglomerates

Not everyone subscribes to the (same) business fads as we have in the West. And in the developing/recently-developed world, brand loyalty is huge - you've never met an Apple fanboi like a Tata or a Godrej fanboi.

When I was young they used to advertise Godrej refridgerators as aspirational things - if you worked you ass off, you could aspire to own one. I think I'd rather have an ipad.

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Go

Grand Vazir of Pune - This is today's title

And then there's the biggest Indian conglomerate of Reliance - unfortunately split into two conglomerates by the brothers. They too make nearly everything, except cars and other vehicles.

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Bronze badge
Coat

@ Manas Straw

Have you never heard of the Reliance Robin?

<- hooky goods in the pockets

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Anonymous Coward

Woops

I've never come even close to being able to afford either!

I did own a Tata car, once, though --- and resoved never again to buy anything made by the entire group. I expect I was just being unreasonable...

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Anonymous Coward

I Know Nothing

I know little about Godrej as a company, and almost as much about Tata --- but Tata still has an actual Tata at the helm

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Troll

Save one or two for me,...

when the big one gets dropped and we're all living like Mad Max, someone still has to write the minutes of the current overlord;s rantings for posterity, and with no power any more and all CPUs wiped by the EMP, manual typewriters are the only way left.

Your obedient toady

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Anonymous Coward

Don't bother

They survived without typewriters until 1867; they can survive without them post apocalypse.

Just learn to use a quill properly.

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Terminator

But...

Bartertown has electricity

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Silver badge
Coat

And also New Vegas

I heard they are getting their juice from the Hoover Dam. But for the rest of the Wastelands it's writing with quills over parchment made with human skin. Try using THAT substrate in a laser printer.

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Conglomerates

They do in India (think TaTa) and all over the World

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Happy

This is not a title

I work for a company which has ownership of the oldest typewriter dealership in Canada. We still sell and service typewriters. We have a typewriter technician who can tear down and rebuild any manual typewriter. We also have a large collection of vintage typewriters that we rent out to the movie industry for props. FYI - most of the typewriter business is electronic these days and our biggest customers are lawyers and real estate agencies. A used IBM Selectric 2 (refurbished by us) sells for around $300.00.

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Anonymous Coward

IBM Selectric

Do you mean those things where you put your fingers just on the keys and find you've typed a whole page of nonsense?

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Joke

re: and find you've typed a whole page of nonsense?

isn't that a forum? ;-)

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MJI
Silver badge

No I think they are a slot car

Fun to race anyway!

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@YAAC

Or get one of them little sticky label printers, Dymo?

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Robot Heaven?

Will they go to Robot Heaven with all the calculators?

-Kryten

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Silver badge

Do you mean adding machines?

Because electronic calculators are still in wide use IIRC for quick and dirty summing up.

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Silver badge

Not yet

I'm the only person in the office who doesn't use a calculator. I use Windows Calculator, Excel for more complex stuff or the one on my phone or my iPod. Other people use the one on their desk, which is less capable than Windows Calculator, or ask me for more complex stuff.

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Bronze badge

Since it's Silicon Heaven

I'm afraid the lowly mechanicals are banned

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JB
Happy

Sad

I learned to type on manual typewriters 30 years ago, those honking great 1950s machines with white keys and green shift keys. Our typing teacher was straight out of the 1950s, and serviced all the typewrites herself - the smell of te cleaning fluid takes me back. The cracks began to appear when the school insisted on a large-print daisywheel electric typewriter in the corner, one of those that would give you a row of Ss if you held you finger down on it too long. The old lady retired in the mid 80s and a hip young(ish) teacher took over - all the old manuals went in a skip, replaced by electronics and then word processors.

I tried out a manual a few months ago, the first time for about 20 years. I was amazed at how much effort it took to get a good letter on he paper, you had to stab your fingers down on the keys. How those old girls way back when used to bang out 60 word per minute is amazing.

The old manuals are like old cars - you can keep it going and going by tinkering, replacing bits and bobs. Computers are fragile, like new cars with computerised systems, try doing a DIY repair on one of those!

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Joke

Old and gold

My granny (bless her soul) is the last person I remember using a "normal" typewriter. She's been dead for 20 years. Perhaps if she'd gone back to work today, she'd have done this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFCCFS_lhA8

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Silver badge

1990s in Germany

In the 1990s we actually learned typing on old electric typewriters of various types. The rationale behind that was that you couldn't cheat with them by deleting your typos.

More advanced classes actually to the text-processing lab where there was a 386 DX 50 running Microsoft Works for Xenix on about 20 terminals. This was a donation from a company. It worked fairly well. The only problem was the software handshaking which meant that terminals could just fail whenever there was a glitch. They just wouldn't start transmitting anything until they got their xon character.

Handshaking was _really_ needed as that box often couldn't keep up with it's 20 users typing all at the same time.

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Coffee/keyboard

Data recovery - mechanical typewriter style

Pull out the ribbon and read what was typed...

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M7S
Bronze badge

I still want a Golfball printer I can connect to my PC

so I can recreate the opening titles of UFO in my office.

Every day.

Just to annoy the beancounters.

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Bronze badge
Headmaster

Prestidigitators

Typewriters write type, typists typewrite!

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Manual Typewriters

If you remove the "electronic" from the Amazon search in the article you will find several manual typewriters for sale. Kinda knocks the breath out of the article.

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Silver badge
WTF?

In India, ownership of an IBM Selectric typewriter can be a source of wealth

Travellers to India will see prominent signs in smaller villages proclaiming IBM Typewriter where locals can go to get Important Documents typed up for government, etc. Typewriter owners often make as much money as pre-birth baby sexing clinics.

Computers are less adaptable, more expensive and cannot compete with the manual or electric typewriters for ruggedness and the intrusion of the occasional bug. Maintenance is simplicity itself by people with a touch of mechanical ability.

P.S. Visitors to India should be aware of a new hazard! <http://www.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/science-technology/India-Superbug-120747334.html >

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FAIL

This Story is False

You fail, The Register. This story is false. There are several manufacturers in China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia that are still producing mechanical typewroters.

Not sure how this rumor ran like wildfire that this Indian company was the last remaining producer of mechanical typewriters. But it just isn't true. And most of the major news outlets that ran the story have already retracted it as being incorrect.

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didn't we cover this story about three years ago ?

or longer....

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