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Marisa Livet | all galleries >> All My Galleries >> Unnecessary rambling talks of an amateur photographer. > Final retirement...
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Final retirement...
28-APR-2011 Marisa

Final retirement...

From the bottom of my troglodytic cavern I’m listening, with a certain dose of bitter-sweet nostalgia, to a fading away mechanic ticking.
It’s a ghost sound by now, the lost sound of typewriters’ voice.
I have no idea about how many people have paid attention to this little news, lost in the jungle of overwhelming and heavier serious news which compose the environment of our daily life.
I have noticed it and I have felt a light pang of loss.
The last factory of typewriters of the world, which was located, it seems, somewhere in India, has just closed forever.
There was not any further request for typewriters; nowadays nearly everyone writes by computer, some still choose nostalgic and reliable handwritten ways to save their short notes, others don’t write at all.
Actually a pen or a pencil and a note book remain the only real antagonist of virtual writing.
Mechanic world is destined to extinction, it’s composed of noise and limits, it needs strength and even physical energy.
Immateriality is destined to triumph…
The iconic image of the writer, the journalist, the reporter remains nevertheless linked with the one of the mechanic tool, the portable typewriter which completed the scene.
A computer keyword is softer, cleaned, more silent, easier to deal with in all possible way, a little aseptic. It opens our horizon over an imaginary never-ending virtual sheet of paper which we can fill with lots of words and gives us the freedom to delete them and recreate slightly different lines, modifying their apparent reality at any time, without signs.

Do you remember, on the opposite, the annoying problem of a typo, the mortal sin committed on a letter, written by an antediluvian typewriter?
The correction was more or less possible, but it was always visible, like a kind of Cain’ mark, on our concrete page.
Often the best solution was simply pulling out the page, to throw it away and to start over again with a new one.
Writing by computer gives us a total flexibility, the possibility to store immaterial documents in immaterial immense drawers.
Wonderful, isn’t it?
Sometimes a creepy thought crosses my mind…what could we do if suddenly for some mysterious background all electrical power suddenly disappeared?
All would be blocked; our life would lose most of fixed and reassuring points of references.
Catastrophic science fiction sceneries…and in this deep, scared silence, we might hear a remote ticking of an old typewriter which had survived and was still there to offer its humble service to its owner.
Typewriters have had a relatively short life, a little more than 150 years, and they are practically extinct by now, like innocent and harmless little dinosaurs.
A few of them will survive in some museum of old oddities.
Everything has become easier and immaterial, music, photography, books, communications…
Even my slow troglodytic mind can see the undeniable advantages of that, even though I miss the records shops, the big covers of vinyl albums (cumbersome, but aesthetically so beautiful) the photographic films, the time we had to wait before seeing our photos printed (all so expensive!), the days before receiving an answer to our letters and the special moment in which we kept the envelope in our hands, before opening it.
I still feel pain in my fingertip just thinking of the weeks I had spent typing my degree thesis on my faithful “Olivetti”.
Ah, if only I could have a computer then…
So goodbye without too many regrets to typewriters, what’s next?
In all cases, here in the bottom of my troglodytic cave I keep some shelves full of real books, a stock of pens, pencils and notepads.
One never knows…

Canon PowerShot SD950 IS
1/800s f/11.0 at 13.7mm iso200 full exif

other sizes: small medium original
alfredo camba jr.05-Jun-2013 10:38
Beautiful and creative image!! V
Bernard Bosmans18-Aug-2011 00:35
Wonderful tribute Marisa.
The young folk, don't know what they have been missing, the fingering, the glorious sounds, and the sight of those lovely girls ticking hours on end.
Here is my bit of my past.
Barri Olson20-Jul-2011 20:55
Ha Ha! I remember when I was in the fourth grade. My dad came home with an Underwood which looked much like the one on the right (I still have it). It was very old then, I won't say how old, that would give how old I am away :-) It was beautiful and it worked flawlessly. When you wrote something you meant it, at least at the time. A person actually had to learn how to spell and punctuate somewhat correctly, which still is not easy for me. The transition from typewriters to computers sort of reminds me of George Orwell's book 1984, the "newspeak" the "oldspeak" how the truth and the perception of it can be erased with a backspace or delete key. I really like this photo and your observations a great it causes one to think...and reflect. It's been said that "the pen is mightier than the sword" What happens when all the pens are gone?
Robert Ballard28-May-2011 00:40
I'm certainly old enough to remember them, although in my case I think that having a backspace key is a necessity. Not only for typos. I tend to type as I'm thinking instead of thoughtfully composing beforehand. Of course that is not always a good thing. On one hand it does allow creative spontaneity and some measure of stream of consciousness rambling. On the other one could make an argument in a similar vein to how film photography was better with a more measured approach.
Martin Lamoon30-Apr-2011 03:51
Brilliant concept and text Marisa, I remember having an IBM golfball typewriter (electric) these too seem to have dissapeared! V
Denis Vincelette29-Apr-2011 23:02
Several things like that are disappeared… and soon, with those with which we will talk about that, they will not understand of what we are speaking about ! And the life goes on !!!!!!
Very very good text Marisa .... as well as all your others !
Steve Mockford29-Apr-2011 22:26
Nice tribute Marisa. While I share some of Don's disdain for the typewriter, at least one old portable survives in my office. ~V~
Don Mottershead29-Apr-2011 19:27
Very effective tribute.

However, as a veteran of the typewriter age (I painfully typed - and retyped - my 600 page thesis), I don't think I would have them ascending to heaven. A fiery subterranean cave seems more appropriate.

Well on second thought, I do share some of your nostalgia for these mechanical behemoths, and they did perform a necessary function. So maybe they deserve to hover in purgatory.

In any case, thanks for your photo and text. It brought back a lot of memories. ~V~
Bonnie29-Apr-2011 17:56
Marisa, this is the most heart wrenching tribute to the old typewriter. I never took typing in school but I tought myself when I was about 40 years old. So I learned on an electric one. Still doens't come close to the computer. I can type really fast now thanks to chatting, e-mail and other writtings that computers compel us to do. this photo is fabulous. The new is great but sometimes can cause so much trouble that I wounder if it is better or not. I do miss those simple days and it really is sad to put a lot of the past to rest but we have to look forward. You trueyly have a way with words, (and photography). BV
FrankB29-Apr-2011 14:37
we have an old IBM Selectric...weighs a ton and when Mrs B fires it up (not for some time now), it shakes the whole house! was a good run.....V
Barry Moore29-Apr-2011 12:16
It is lovely to think back to the days i played on my mum's typewriter as a child. Unfortunaltely the legacy of the qwerty keyboard is here to haunt us all probably for ever. Not many people know why the arrangement of the letters is as they are.... and yes you can type "typewriter" using the first row of keys to aid the typewriter salesman make a sale.
Judi Hastings29-Apr-2011 04:35
Nice shot! Let your imagination fly! :)
William Vogt29-Apr-2011 01:45
Well done!
Regards, Bill
Marcia Rules29-Apr-2011 01:38
poignant. and then some. you are a visionary of words and photos...V
Robbie D7028-Apr-2011 21:33
Clever editing with the typewriters rising up to pass away.
Interesting story Marisa.
Giancarlo Guzzardi28-Apr-2011 17:59
Bella immagine e gran bella riflessione, su cui concordo.
Ho una Olivetti 22. Me la terrò ancora più stretta da oggi, non si sa mai.. anche con un nastro usato ed un foglio di carta potrò ancora scrivere parole, magari un pò sbiadite ma senza interferenze.
Steve Sharp28-Apr-2011 16:49
Fascinating story and your thoughts on their passing Marisa! You're right, we are moving towards a world where everyone's lives are stored digitally. I read about some people in New York (these are well-to-do, working people) who actually have nothing other than a few clothes and toiletries, plus electronic gizmos to store their 'life' (personal info, photos, music collection, films, entertainment centres etc), they don't even bother having a home or a car, they sort of roam from friend's sofas to other friend's sofas! In a way it seems a good way to live, less materialistic and simpler; but there are times when tangible 'things' keep us connected to our past, and written/typed letters are one of those things. Being a bit of a groovy techie type that I am ;) I only ever pick up a pen these days for writing down numbers at work; I haven't 'written' a letter or a sentence for ages now. But I fondly remember my dad's old typewriter and the chaos it used to cause (mistakes, jams, not to mention the noise) and wish I'd kept it now.
Earl Misanchuk28-Apr-2011 15:01
Marisa, you might be interested is viewing some of the paintings done by a friend of mine, Chris Stott.

Chris has a soft spot and a keen eye for things from days gone by--typewriters, fans, books, suitcases, cameras..., to name just a few. I have a feeling that you and Chris share some feelings about objects like this.


Earl Misanchuk28-Apr-2011 14:51
Great concept, beautifully executed. I'm especially impressed by the way the clouds overlap the keyboards. I'm one of those who didn't know about the final factory closing, and I'm glad you brought it to my attention so beautifully. Big vote.
Gerda Kettner28-Apr-2011 13:01
lol, I loved those old typwriters, wish I had kept mine, especially the old Adler,
would be to cool to have one of those,liked the sound they made,
I can always go to the Antique Store to find on
I agree with you I miss some of the old stuff myself..since I like anything that's old, I do still have an old turntable which works so I can play my old albums,
wonderful creation Marisa, V