back to article LAST EVER British typewriter manufactured in Wales

Britain's last ever typewriter has rolled off the assembly line at Brother's factory in Wales. Sholes and Glidden typewriter made by Remington The first commercially successful typewriter The Brother CM1000 electronic typewriter, one of 5.8m typewriters made at the factory since 1985, has been donated to the Science Museum …


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  1. Neily-boy


    A printer with its own qwerty keyboard and real time output?What an amazing idea! I think you'll find that Apple patented that particular innovation though.

    1. Michael Hutchinson

      Re: Innovation

      When will you people get bored of typing that on every bloody thread?

      1. Richard Ball

        Re: Innovation

        Better make sure it doesn't have ROUNDED CORNERS!

      2. Neily-boy

        Re: Innovation

        ........And just in case you're thinking about beating them to it, they've also patented the rectangular output medium for these qwerty printers, so forget it!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Innovation

          Ha ha, that never gets old. Apple ought to get a patent on circles and then claim the moon for infringement.

      3. Piro Silver badge

        Re: Innovation

        When Apple stops suing everyone + dog for very tenuous reasons, is my guess. So never, then, or until they go bankrupt.

      4. Jedit Silver badge

        "When will you people get bored of typing that on every bloody thread?"

        We may stop when Apple patents it.

    2. Circadian

      Re: Innovation

      Tired meme is tired.

      (For recursion: see recursion.)

  2. Captain Scarlet

    Typewriters were still made in the UK :O

    I would have thought manufacturing would have been moved somewhere cheaper, its good to know there are still manufacturers who still produce stuff in the UK (Even if it is just assemling parts)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typewriters were still made in the UK :O

      Oh FFS, not this Daily Mail reinforced myth again.

      2.6 million currently employed in manufacturing in the UK, ranked 6th in the world by output. And they are not just assembling parts. As you point out, that mostly gets done cheaper elsewhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typewriters were still made in the UK :O

        Seventh now. Overtaken by Italy in 2010.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and no more secure then than today

    Despite having 'paper only' output, most pre-electronic typewriters had their own security flaws -

    a) the ribbon

    b) the carbon sheets - used to make a carbon copy (saves having to type twice and no photocopiers in those days!)

    Both could be read and were either pilfered from the machines themselves, or the waste paper bins at the times by all sorts of interested parties.

    So nothing much has changed in the 21st century. Data is still insecure.

    1. frank ly

      Re: and no more secure then than today

      That's what matches and metal bins are for.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and no more secure then than today

      c) the hammers themselves exhibit casting anomalies which serve to identify the model and fingerprint the individual machine.

      You are quite a bit better off today with a mono laser printer and some rudimentary data hygiene.

    3. A J Stiles

      Re: and no more secure then than today

      Only in movies!

      Typewriter ribbons in real life get reversed at the end of travel, probably aren't an integer number of characters long, and so soon get overstruck with unreadable nonsense (if you can even read black on black). The first few characters typed using the red section of a two-colour ribbon might show up in black from residual ink on the typebars; but by skilfully manipulating the colour change and ribbon-reverse levers, even this effect can be eliminated. Carbon paper also was good for more than one use; so again by the time it was seen by anybody else, it was unreadable.

      1. Tim Brown 1

        Re: and no more secure then than today

        You seem unaware that many of the higher-end office typewriters used a once-only polymer tape ribbon for crisper, clearer print. Very easy to read stuff typed off one of these.

        1. Dances With Sheep
          Black Helicopters

          Re: and no more secure then than today

          I learnt to type at school on a manual typewriter (it beated doing extra-French back in 1990).

          As part of the exam, us budding audio-secretaries had to explain why it was important to lock the typewriter ribbons (and dictaphone tapes) in the office safe at the end of the day.

          It seams they did think about data security back then. :-)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd argue their security is rather... hands-on.

      While there's certainly security issues, they're also well-understood and relatively easily mitigated. Stick the ribbons in the safe, destroy carbon sheets just like you'd destroy paper. A shredder goes a long way here. Incidentally, shredders are possibly more prevalent than before. Curious, no?

      "Fingerprinting" the thing, yes, there's that. Though modern copiers and printers all have something like that deliberately built-in, ostensibly to thwart counterfeiters, but the things' output is still individually tracable. And of course, if the printer has a replacable printhead or daisywheel or something, well, keep a separate wheel for each purpose, eh?

      Whereas modern "cloudy" data handling... isn't more secure than handling paper, pens, and typewriters. I'd say rather the reverse.

      Of course the security issues haven't changed from then to now, much. You could argue that with scanners and copiers everywhere... but then that's hardly the fault of the typewriter, now is it? What has happened is that security conciousness has a higher incidence now than before, possibly because of the needs of the replacement, but that too I'd not blame on the typewriter.

      Depending on the purpose, I'd not automatically write off typewriters for high security work, actually.

    5. Allan George Dyer

      Re: and no more secure then than today

      Fabric ribbons didn't take a clear imprint, and were reused. It was the film ribbons that were use-once and a problem. I never saw a pre-electronic film ribbon, so I doubt your (a). (b) still stands.

      But, they were more secure than today: no internet connection! If you wanted to eavesdrop, you had to BE there... in the office pilfering the ribbon, or in the bins, separating the carbon paper from someone's lunch wrapper.

  4. Travis Hayler

    Made in Wales?

    What's the betting that it will only be sold to someone who is Welsh...

    1. John Arthur

      Re: Made in Wales?

      Twp? Did you not read the bit where it says the typewriter is going to the Science Museum in London?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm going to make one now.

    Just to take the crown of Last UK Typewriter.

  6. Nigel 11


    I find myself wondering when and where was the last finger-powered typewriter made? Also the last non-electronic (purely electromechanical) one?

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: Questions

      I'd seriously think that purely manual typewriters are still made today. After all they serve more of a purpose than electromechanical ones.

      There are uses for a typewriter that can write without electricity.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apparently the last manual typewriter was made in 2009 . They still had a stock of 500 left in 2011.

  8. Pen-y-gors

    Wales - centre of the typewriting world

    That wasn't the only type-writer factory in Wales. I have vague memories of visiting a Smith-Corona typewriter factory near Porthmadog while on holiday in the area about 1970(?) - I suspect it must have been another rainy day keeping us off the sun-kissed beaches of Criccieth.

    To be honest, it was actually jolly interesting.

  9. Thomas 4

    Was never a huge fan of typewriters

    Awfully hard to concentrate on writing when something's banging away in the background.

  10. Peter Fox

    A welsh typewriter has fewer keys

    No vowels needed.

    1. Pen-y-gors

      Re: A welsh typewriter has fewer keys

      Actually, more keys needed.

      The Welsh alphabet has 29 letters (including 7 vowels)

      A, B, C, CH, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, NG, H, I, L, LL, M, N, O, P, PH, R, RH, S, T, TH, U, W, Y plus J (for loan words)

      Okay, you can type LL with two presses of L, but in Crosswords and Scrabble those 'double' letters are single letters.


  11. M7S

    My word processor used to print using a daisy wheel

    but what I'm really after is a golfball printer to connect to my PC. I know it's unoikely due to character limitations but does anyone know of any? Preferably USB or ethernet.

    And some reel to reel tapes so I can make my office look like the opening credits of UFO

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We used to have a converted daisywheel typewriter for printing the processed words

      Quite amazing how the word processor managed to make the thing type one line forward, and the next backwards! Quite the trick, that.

      As to interfacing the golfball in one of those ugly international business machines, that might involve coming up with some interface board yourself, if conversions aren't to be found. I do know someone managed to convert to serial a model 15 teletype.

  12. A J Stiles

    Two-way printing

    I think two-way printing was standard on daisy-wheel machines (not that I was ever lucky enough to own one, or foolish enough to want one). After all, once you've got the characters that make up your line of text safely in the buffer, it's as easy to read them out backwards as forwards; and the printing head has got to be moved back to the start of the line, so it might as well be doing something useful on the way.

    It certainly was on dot-matrix printers -- though with every dot matrix I ever owned, when you used letter-quality mode, both passes had to be made in the same direction due to backlash errors in the mechanism.

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