Portable typewritter - Olivetti Lettera

Contributed by Helen Lindsay

Portable typewritter - Olivetti Lettera

You might think of the portable typewritter as a forerunner of the computer but its actually far closer to writing than word-processing. A line could be drawn; starting more than 2 millenia ago, with writing using impliments whether scratching on stone, chalk, paint, ink or pencil, to the Gutenberg printing press and finishing with the typewritter. The revolution in communication initiated by computers in the 20th century was a completely different and parallel development due to take the human race into new and untravelled territory. The typewriter represents the end of the line in portable, mechanical, analogue methods of producing text. This one was used to create thousands of words giving my father, the author Jack Lindsay, inky fingers and little leeway for changing what he had typed. The sound of of the metal type as it falls against the inked ribbon and paper is remincent of an era of work in offices and homes that has resolutely passed and moved into era of the electronic ring tone, bleep and ping.

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