back to article End of the line for mechanical typewriters

The death of the mechanical typewriter is upon us, after Godrej & Boyce recently confirmed that the firm's remaining inventory at its production plant in Shirwal, near Pune, had significantly dwindled to just 500 machines. That company, which began production in the 1950s, had become the world's final old-school typewriter …


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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    We need one for the office

    Need to address an envelope

    1, Put in type writer

    2, Type address


    1, Buy sheet of sticky labels that are supported in Word's list (which seems to only do US sizes even in the UK)

    2, Type address

    3, Print

    4, Print again with labels correct way up in tray

    5, Print again because somebody sent another job to the printer and their first page got printed on your labels

    6, Discover that you had the margins set wrong and the address starts off the label

    7, Manually put a few spaces at the start of the address

    8 goto 3

    catch: Write the address by hand

    Then you have the 99% of forms that aren't fillable PDFs

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Window envelopes

      Window envelopes

    2. ChrisC


      Print directly onto the envelopes... If the cheap and cheerful laser printer I use at home can accept a stack of envelopes in its sheet feeder and spit them out all neatly addressed (and it can) then I see no reason why an office-grade printer shouldn't be able to do the same.

      If you really do have to use labels, then it's worth putting in a bit of effort up front to generate custom templates which match the layout of the labels/margins of the printer you actually have, rather than constantly having to tweak the preset templates provided with Word. Of course, this doesn't get around the problem you have with label sheets that are laid out asymetrically with a wider border at one end of the sheet than at the other, but it does make life a lot easier.

    3. John Miles


      try something like a Dymo Label Writer for smallish quantities or a printer with envelope feeder for larger print runs - either of which should be cost effective compared to someone spending type typing addresses on typewriter

    4. K. Adams

      Forgot a step... (between 5 and 6)

      New 6, Call tech support because some of the labels peeled off the backing and got stuck on the fuser/feed roller/other vital component...

    5. Dave 62

      are you for real?

      9, Lean to use a computer you dolt, this is a bloody IT news site, what are you doing here?

      Non-fillable PDF? I just printscreen and paste them to an image editor if I really feel the need to have printed text on them. You see computers are not some big scary complex thing, you've just got to engage the old grey matter a little and you'll soon have a solution simpler and more elegant than pissing about with type writer ribbons, realising the damn thing has jammed up because someone left the dust cover off, waiting for tipex to dry because CTRL+Z doesn't work.

      I know you're just trolling but really, this is pathetic.

    6. Daniel B.

      Then you have the 99% of forms that aren't fillable PDFs

      Ah yes. I 'fixed' that problem myself, scanning the form, then placing the fillable PDF fields over the form. Now you just need to fill out the form, remove the background image from the original form ... and TADA! Everything prints in its place!

    7. Tom Wood

      Window envelopes are clearly the answer, but failing that...

      Pick up pen

      Write address

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I know you're just trolling but really, this is pathetic.

        You've just got to engage the old grey matter a little and you'll soon have a solution simpler and more elegant than pissing about with DIMMs because Windows Vista has run out of memory again, realising the damn thing has jammed up because someone forgot to defrag the harddrive, waiting for tipex to dry because CTRL+Z doesn't work in Notepad.

        I know you're just trolling but really, this is pathetic.

        1. Dave 62


          Well, let me see, I've never struggled with running out of memory, forgetting to defrag the harddrive doesn't exactly jam it up and is easily remedied with.. well defragging the harddrive, not to mention scheduled tasks.

          And finally, CTRL+Z does work in notepad, as do the delete key, backspace key and highlight>righ click> delete. Now how do you delete an error on a mechanical type writer?

          Why AC? Oh, because you know you don't know what you're talking about.

    8. Manas Straw

      Nawab of Travancore - This is today's title

      For non-fillable PDFs there are several free solutions available (NitroPDF is one example) that allow you to add text boxes to any PDF. You can even save the PDF with your data in it.

    9. A.A.Hamilton
      Thumb Up

      Re: We need one for the office

      Magnificent summing up of the process of printing throughout the history of personal computing.

      A colleague of mine made the comment - almost 20 years ago - that having looked at calls to our help desk, it was clear that printing was, by a huge margin, the most difficult IT problem that people had, that it always had been and always will be.

      I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times in the past 30+ years when the result of my printing requests have exactly matched my expectations and also been what I wanted. I currently use printers from HP, Lexmark, Epson and Canon. None of them work as one would reasonably expect. I stopped printing on labels and envelopes many years ago when the frustration and wasted material costs became unacceptable.

      And don't talk to me about high quality photo printing....

      1. Anonymous Coward

        But how do you get high quality photo printing

        I mean, you have to be able to get your best pr0nz on your B0 somehow...?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Godrej - still going

    What a conglomerate - the company is thriving:

    I thought conglomerates were not in fashion any more...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      While you are looking at Indian conglomerates

      Check out Tata.

      Everything from software to ... owning Jaguar and Landrover.

      They make a bit of steel, on the side too. More than anyone else, actually!

      (well, not sure, but in the world's top few steel producers)

      1. Dave 62


        actually it's "Jaguar Landrover", they're more of a single entity these days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          I've never come even close to being able to afford either!

          I did own a Tata car, once, though --- and resoved never again to buy anything made by the entire group. I expect I was just being unreasonable...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Godrej and Tata were both founded by Parsi Indians - both conglomerates and still thriving - of course, they are now both so big that I'm sure Parsi's don't control the companies any more.

        The Korean's like conglomerates as well... there are quite a few still around:

        1. Manas Straw

          Grand Vazir of Pune - This is today's title

          And then there's the biggest Indian conglomerate of Reliance - unfortunately split into two conglomerates by the brothers. They too make nearly everything, except cars and other vehicles.

          1. ravenviz

            @ Manas Straw

            Have you never heard of the Reliance Robin?

            <- hooky goods in the pockets

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I Know Nothing

          I know little about Godrej as a company, and almost as much about Tata --- but Tata still has an actual Tata at the helm

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Not everyone subscribes to the (same) business fads as we have in the West. And in the developing/recently-developed world, brand loyalty is huge - you've never met an Apple fanboi like a Tata or a Godrej fanboi.

      When I was young they used to advertise Godrej refridgerators as aspirational things - if you worked you ass off, you could aspire to own one. I think I'd rather have an ipad.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Save one or two for me,...

    when the big one gets dropped and we're all living like Mad Max, someone still has to write the minutes of the current overlord;s rantings for posterity, and with no power any more and all CPUs wiped by the EMP, manual typewriters are the only way left.

    Your obedient toady

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't bother

      They survived without typewriters until 1867; they can survive without them post apocalypse.

      Just learn to use a quill properly.

    2. TelePom


      Bartertown has electricity

      1. Mephistro

        And also New Vegas

        I heard they are getting their juice from the Hoover Dam. But for the rest of the Wastelands it's writing with quills over parchment made with human skin. Try using THAT substrate in a laser printer.

  4. John Dougald McCallum


    They do in India (think TaTa) and all over the World

  5. Pete 43


    Or get one of them little sticky label printers, Dymo?

  6. Johnny Canuck

    This is not a title

    I work for a company which has ownership of the oldest typewriter dealership in Canada. We still sell and service typewriters. We have a typewriter technician who can tear down and rebuild any manual typewriter. We also have a large collection of vintage typewriters that we rent out to the movie industry for props. FYI - most of the typewriter business is electronic these days and our biggest customers are lawyers and real estate agencies. A used IBM Selectric 2 (refurbished by us) sells for around $300.00.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IBM Selectric

      Do you mean those things where you put your fingers just on the keys and find you've typed a whole page of nonsense?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        re: and find you've typed a whole page of nonsense?

        isn't that a forum? ;-)

      2. MJI Silver badge

        No I think they are a slot car

        Fun to race anyway!

  7. eric 2

    Robot Heaven?

    Will they go to Robot Heaven with all the calculators?


    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Do you mean adding machines?

      Because electronic calculators are still in wide use IIRC for quick and dirty summing up.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Not yet

      I'm the only person in the office who doesn't use a calculator. I use Windows Calculator, Excel for more complex stuff or the one on my phone or my iPod. Other people use the one on their desk, which is less capable than Windows Calculator, or ask me for more complex stuff.

    3. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Since it's Silicon Heaven

      I'm afraid the lowly mechanicals are banned

  8. JB


    I learned to type on manual typewriters 30 years ago, those honking great 1950s machines with white keys and green shift keys. Our typing teacher was straight out of the 1950s, and serviced all the typewrites herself - the smell of te cleaning fluid takes me back. The cracks began to appear when the school insisted on a large-print daisywheel electric typewriter in the corner, one of those that would give you a row of Ss if you held you finger down on it too long. The old lady retired in the mid 80s and a hip young(ish) teacher took over - all the old manuals went in a skip, replaced by electronics and then word processors.

    I tried out a manual a few months ago, the first time for about 20 years. I was amazed at how much effort it took to get a good letter on he paper, you had to stab your fingers down on the keys. How those old girls way back when used to bang out 60 word per minute is amazing.

    The old manuals are like old cars - you can keep it going and going by tinkering, replacing bits and bobs. Computers are fragile, like new cars with computerised systems, try doing a DIY repair on one of those!

  9. Scots_muso

    Old and gold

    My granny (bless her soul) is the last person I remember using a "normal" typewriter. She's been dead for 20 years. Perhaps if she'd gone back to work today, she'd have done this:

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Data recovery - mechanical typewriter style

    Pull out the ribbon and read what was typed...

  11. Christian Berger

    1990s in Germany

    In the 1990s we actually learned typing on old electric typewriters of various types. The rationale behind that was that you couldn't cheat with them by deleting your typos.

    More advanced classes actually to the text-processing lab where there was a 386 DX 50 running Microsoft Works for Xenix on about 20 terminals. This was a donation from a company. It worked fairly well. The only problem was the software handshaking which meant that terminals could just fail whenever there was a glitch. They just wouldn't start transmitting anything until they got their xon character.

    Handshaking was _really_ needed as that box often couldn't keep up with it's 20 users typing all at the same time.

  12. M7S

    I still want a Golfball printer I can connect to my PC

    so I can recreate the opening titles of UFO in my office.

    Every day.

    Just to annoy the beancounters.

  13. ravenviz


    Typewriters write type, typists typewrite!

  14. David Beck

    Manual Typewriters

    If you remove the "electronic" from the Amazon search in the article you will find several manual typewriters for sale. Kinda knocks the breath out of the article.

  15. JaitcH

    In India, ownership of an IBM Selectric typewriter can be a source of wealth

    Travellers to India will see prominent signs in smaller villages proclaiming IBM Typewriter where locals can go to get Important Documents typed up for government, etc. Typewriter owners often make as much money as pre-birth baby sexing clinics.

    Computers are less adaptable, more expensive and cannot compete with the manual or electric typewriters for ruggedness and the intrusion of the occasional bug. Maintenance is simplicity itself by people with a touch of mechanical ability.

    P.S. Visitors to India should be aware of a new hazard! < >

  16. Anonymous Coward

    This Story is False

    You fail, The Register. This story is false. There are several manufacturers in China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia that are still producing mechanical typewroters.

    Not sure how this rumor ran like wildfire that this Indian company was the last remaining producer of mechanical typewriters. But it just isn't true. And most of the major news outlets that ran the story have already retracted it as being incorrect.

  17. tony trolle

    didn't we cover this story about three years ago ?

    or longer....

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