Farewell to the wertyipet

John Rentoul

Remington  16 Typewriter 300x279 Farewell to the wertyipetI am scared to go into my attic in case I confirm that I have thrown away my great aunt’s travel typewriter, a beautiful grey-green masterpiece of metal engineering. I once also had a Remington upright that didn’t work, like the one on the right, and eventually put it out for scrap. (I know I have an Osborne up there, the first “personal computer”, which came in a suitcase-sized portable unit, with a six-inch screen and two five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disk drives.)

Sad news of the day, therefore, that Godrej and Boyce, the Bombay company, has stopped making typewriters. It was the last manufacturer of them in the world.

In one of the obituaries (sorry, I’ve forgotten which one), it was said that a rationale of the qwerty layout of the keys was that typewriter salesmen could show off their product using only the top line of letters. No idea if it is true, but it another of those stories that certainly should be.

Still, there is a fabulous shop called Type, on the Bethnal Green Road, by what I call in moments of childish Spoonerism Lick Brain, which sells second-hand typewriters. And coffee. And old paperbacks. Recommended.

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