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National Typewriter Day is June 23 and we’re using the day to celebrate the written word! Typewriters have a strong history in not only the world but throughout the United States as well. Even though they might not be as popular as our trusty laptop companions, they’re a fun and niche way to exercise your brain.
History of National Typewriter Day
To many, typewriters are a remnant of the past. Truth be told, the patent for the first typewriter was not granted until 1829. Even then, the first typewriter as we know it today wasn’t built until 1867 near Milwaukee.
At their peak, typewriters were essential and sometimes the only way of typing books, articles, and manuscripts neatly. Although they fell out of vogue in the 20th century, the rise in hipster culture has made for a renewed popularity among young people.
Even now, many famous writers use typewriters to hone their creative processes. For instance, George R.R. Martin, Quintin Tarantino, and Jhumpa Lahiri are all well-known typewriter advocates.
Although the typewriter is well past its heyday in terms of necessity and interest, nowadays the restoration of typewriters is a niche yet successful industry. Just recently, a light blue Olivetti Lettera 32 sold for over $254,000. Now that’s something to write home about!
National Typewriter Day timeline
Italian printmaker Francesco Rampazetto invents ‘la scrittura tattile’ (the tactile writer) as a machine to quickly press letters into paper.
American Charles Thurber invents a basic typing machine with the express aim of aiding the blind in communication.
Christopher Latham Sholes and Carlos Glidden produce the first widely successful commercial typewriter near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Although less popular, remnants of the typewriter, like the QWERTY keyboard and the term ‘backspace,’ still exist in modern life.
National Typewriter Day FAQs
How do typewriters work?
As paper is fed through a roller, the typist clacks a letter to have it dipped against the ink ribbon and onto the piece of paper. Just like a 26-piece stamp set!
Where can I buy a typewriter?
If you’re interested in a new hobby or in embellishing a writing habit, you can often find previously-loved typewriters in thrift stores and antique shops. For a cheaper one, check online.
Are typewriters still used professionally?
Many people who do not have access to consistent electricity use typewriters as a foolproof way to type. In a court setting, a stenographer uses a type of typewriter.
How to Celebrate National Typewriter Day
Find a typewriter
Typewriters can be found all over, from thrift stores to your grandparents’ attic. The act of finding one is a fun event in itself. Plus, if your family member has one stowed away, it can be a valuable bonding session between you two.
Even if physically having a typewriter isn’t an option, it’s still easy to celebrate. Pick up your favorite book, newspaper, or magazine and devote some time to reading it. Bonus points if your material was originally written with a typewriter!
Finally, take some time to write something. From a typewriter, to a computer, to a pencil, writing can be a soothing exercise that can help you flex your creative muscles. You could even have a friend over to write a story together.
5 Typewriter Facts To Discover Today
Ray Bradbury didn’t own a typewriter
In order to write his 1953 book “Fahrenheit 451,” Ray Bradbury used a typewriter rented from the library at UCLA.
Richard Brautigan loved them
Author Richard Brautigan says he thinks of entire stories in his head beforehand and then types them out all at once at almost 100 words per minute.
Mark Twain was a trendsetter
Mark Twain was the first author to showcase a typewritten book manuscript in “Life on the Mississippi,” published in 1883.
Tom Hanks is a fanatic.
Actor Tom Hanks is an avid and well-known collector of old-school typewriters.
Ernest Hemingway was fidgety
Ernest Hemingway was known to set his typewriter on a high bookshelf and write his stories standing up.
Why We Love National Typewriter Day
It’s easy to learn about history.
Because of their historical nature, typewriters are a wonderful gateway into the world of the past. And if you celebrate by simply reading, it’s easy to learn a thing or two from books.
Writing brings people together
At its core, writing brings people together from all backgrounds. Just imagine how many people have lost themselves in the same written world that you’re exploring right now!
Typewriters are interesting
When using a typewriter, you can’t help but be entranced by the intricacy of the machine in front of you. How exactly is it that all those moving parts and sounds create such amazing books?
National Typewriter Day dates