Transcribed below. The typewriter is the Royal Quiet De Luxe with Pica type again. The ribbon was made for a printing calculator.

Young people who encounter a typewriter for the first time often have only misconceptions and old wives’ tales to judge it by. Thus, as a public service, we answer these


Doesn’t a typewriter wear out your fingers?

No. A well-made typewriter is designed to be typed on all day. It is less wearing to type on a good typewriter than it is to wrestle with a cheap squishy laptop keyboard. If the typewriter is wearing out your fingers, there may be something wrong with the typewriter, but it is more likely that there is something wrong with your typing.

Can you still get typewriter ribbons?

Yes, and with the typewriter revival that has been going on lately, you can get them in colors your grandparents never dreamt of, except in the 1960s, when people had a lot of weird dreams. You can also get ribbons for printing calculators, cash registers, and dot-matix printers, all of which are stocked at most office-supply stores, and wind them on your typewriter spools. “I couldn’t get ink” is not an excuse.

Won’t people look at me funny if I’m using a typewriter?

Yes. But they do that anyway, and now you can persuade yourself it’s because you’re using a typewriter.

Isn’t the QWERTY keyboard irrational enough to drive you out of your mind?

Considering that it is the one successful international standard that applies in all English-speaking countries, the QWERTY keyboard is just about the most rational thing we have. We can’t agree on how to measure the volume of a liquid or how to spell “center,” but somehow we have managed to agree on where the letters go on a keyboard. Please don’t mess that up.

How do I get rid of that typewriter smell?

You might as well ask
how to breed stenchless roses.
Learn to love that scent.


  1. John Salmon says:

    Right now I am writing a scathing letter to the editor of the local paper (The Blandville Libertarian) on my Remington Steele typewriter while listening to a rhumba band (Ricky Ricardo’s Caliente Doce Orquestra)on my Victrola. George Will is on hold.

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