Thursday, June 4, 2009

Typewriters: a 21st century technology?

Just noticed this one: John-Paul Flintoff writes for the (UK) Sunday Times on environmental topics and "green" technology. In an article entitled "Bring Back Low Tech and  Stop Climate Change" it occurs to him to combine profession and buying a manual typewriter. He even typecasts on it:
While noting that he's "fully aware of the irony of posting this on the internet, which will only be available to you so long as you, and some remote server, are burning up the fossil fuels," he makes two points about his new acquisition: 
  • a.) it uses no electricity, and 
  • b.)  putting it to use keeps a big ol' hunk of metal, plastic and rubber out of the dump.
"I hope it might inspire you to reclaim some specimen of beautifully made pre-digital low-tech before it's sent to the landfill," Flintoff writes.  

It's environmentally positive in a few other ways too, isn't it? This is off the top of my head:
  • Toner cartridges versus typewriter ribbons. One is an expensive, intricate, proprietary delivery mechanism for powdered chemicals. The other is a strip of cloth dipped in ink.
  • Less paper used. Yes, really. You might think that having to retype would lead to more wasted pages, but in my experience the opposite is true. On the computer, I find myself often printing out drafts, because it's just the touch of a button. On a typewriter, you think twice.
  • Extended lifespan of computers. If you're using your writing machine to write, you're using your computer less. That means reduced wear and tear, and longer product life.
What about you? Can you think of other ways typewriter usage contributes to the environment (and one's pocketbook)?


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