Do You Remember When You Got Your First Typewriter?

last year
last modified: last year

I had always wanted to learn to type and of course took it in high school. When I was 17 my Dad bought my first typewriter and I still have it. I am now almost 85. It is a portable Underwood in a carrying case. It most likely was ordered from Sears and delivered by mail. Since then I have had a few more, one types script only, another is a nice electric one with some memory and then there are a couple that were left in the big school building we bought. I have never had a job where I used my typing as I was a stay at home wife and Mother. I have used my typing a great deal during my adult life. Do you remember your first typewriter?


Comments (31)

  • sjerin
    last year

    I grew up seeing my mother type everything, so I figured it was a matter of course to buy one after I was on my own. Dh and I bought an electric one (huge!) and it made me quite happy to have it. But computers came into vogue only a few years later so we finally steeled ourselves around ten years ago to give it away-- it was a little difficult to do that.

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  • Lars
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I took typing when I was fifteen, and I got a typewriter at that age also. I used it to type letters to pen pals that I had, as I lived on a farm, not close to any friends. Also at that time, I had written fan letters to Del Shannon, and he asked me to be president of his fan club, and I accepted. I used my typewriter to type bulletins for the fan club. My first typewriter was a manual Smith-Corona.

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  • Bluebell66
    last year

    I got an electric typewriter for high school graduation in 1984. It was a light blue Smith Corona. I used it for a year or two in college before I had easy access to computers and printers.

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  • Uptown Gal
    last year
    last modified: last year

    At 15....I "inherited" my brother's Royal manual. Used it all through high school at home. (but had electrics to use in typing class) Never used it after HS, but still have it packed away. :)

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  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last year

    I've never owned a typewriter and never learned to type. Early in high school, I knew what I wanted to study in college and what I hoped my profession would be and typing never factored into the equation.......I would have a secretary who would do any of that :-))

    Fast forward a few years and while I did get the intended college degree, I never followed that into a related profession. No secretary :-) But as my degree-unrelated career progressed, so did word processing and I did spend the majority of my business career writing reports. Fortunately, along the way I learned to hunt and peck well enough and fast enough to get by!

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  • hallngarden
    last year

    Really enjoyed typing courses at 15. My mother used a typewriter at home she inherited in the late 1930's. I used the older model at home for letter writing. How I remember the keys sticking together,and how messy it was to change the ribbon. Kept the old typewriter all these years and my daughter has it displayed in her home. It still works after all these years.

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  • arcy_gw
    last year

    My mom had an old pica. I typed all my high school and college papers on it. I took typing in high school to survive college mostly. It is a skill I PUSH on my students now. Life is soooo fabulous with computers, just have to say!! All those papers were a NIGHTMARE for me!!

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  • OklaMoni
    last year
    last modified: last year

    My father had a type writer, but I never did.

    Then the husband came along... and a few years later he bought a commodore 64.

    I took typing lessons and started to write my letters via the commodore. Made it easy, with a few changes... to basically send the same letter to everyone. :)

    Then, at some point I got my own desk top computer and just now am using my new laptop.

    I type emails to my siblings the world over.


    PS, they year my kids turned 7 and 9 I gave them typing work to do before they could go outside to play one summer. They are both grateful that they learned to type early.

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  • bpath
    last year

    When I was a kid, we used my mom’s manual. She was a heckuva typist! My brother got an electric Smith Corona to produce papers his teachers could actually read, so I could occasionally use that. I took typing in high school, too, geat class! It included a form of shorthand called notehand, that was a lifesaver in college and I still use it a bit. Anyway, I never got my own typewriter, but when I started working I had an IBM Selectric II, wow, loved that thing. Then I became a tech writer for a mainframe publishing software company, and I was the best keyboarder there. It’s a good skill!

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  • socks
    last year

    I still have it, a portable in a hard case, up in the rafters of the garage. I've typed more than I want to remember. When exposed to my first word processing experience on a computer, I never looked back. No more erasing, white-out, easy editing, etc.!

    IBM Selectrics were the best.

    My mother worked at home but didn't use a typewriter, she used a comptometer (numbers). Anyone even heard of it?

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  • jkayd_il5
    last year

    No. I never owned a typewriter but learned to type in high school. Came in very handy later in my job and now using computer keyboard.

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  • Alisande
    last year

    Never heard of the comptometer, Socks.

    I've often said typing is the most useful thing I learned in school. As I write this, I'm drinking tea out of a mug my daughter gave me. It says, "Typing fast is my cardio."

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  • Bookwoman
    last year

    My father bought me a Smith-Corona typewriter to take to college in 1975. The ribbon was in a cartridge, and you could pull it out and put in a white 'correcting' cartridge, which was very handy since I'm not a great typist.

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  • glenda_al
    last year

    Mine was a portable electric typewriter my dad bought me my freshman year in college.

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  • bob_cville
    last year
    last modified: last year

    My father "collected" typewriters (among many other things) so there was always one (or more) around, many not actually functioning.

    I knew even in high school that I wanted to "do" computers as a profession, so I signed up for an (ungraded) evening school typing class at the high school.

    The metric used in the class to measure how well you were typing was number of words typed per minute, minus one for each mistake made. I wasn't very fast then (and I'm still not) and I made many mistakes (and still do). By the end of the class for the timed (ungraded) "final" test, I scored zero words per minute. (Only because the metric didn't allow negative numbers.

    I also had a primitive word processor program on our home computer and a 5x7 dot matrix, tractor-feed printer which I used for a few high school reports, although the letters it produced were not very readable.

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  • caflowerluver
    last year

    I took classes in high school. I think it was a requirement for all H.S. girls. They were old manual ones. My dad bought my sister and me one in 1965. It was a really light weight portable one that moved across the table as you typed. I don't remember the brand but it was turquoise color. I bought an old heavy cast iron one in 1980. I just liked the look of it.

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  • sheilajoyce_gw
    last year
    last modified: last year

    My father came home in the late 1950s with a Royal typewriter attached to a typing table for our use. A business downtown was closing, and he bought the typewriter, which we used. I took a typing class the summer after my junior year because otherwise I did not have room in my college prep schedule for a typing class. The teacher told us our final grade and asked us if we wanted it reported to the school district to be entered on our records. With a B in the class, I declined, to the amazement of the other students.

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  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Mid80s when I bought one. I typed (hunt and peck) more than one term paper/essay on an 1920s Underwood. By the time I bought one, word processors were becoming popular, and I didn't need the typewriter any more. Never took a class; completely self-taught. I found out I had gotten really good when my boss volunteered me to type up an entire meeting with several people talking. Tested in the low 90 wpm range. I still fly. Just do it on a PC with dictation software now. Dragon still sucks. I use voice on my phone, so why can't work be as good?

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  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    last year

    I learned to hunt and peck fairly young, and would sometimes type my letters to my grandmother. But, touch typing, and typing with any degree of speed, never came to me (I tried! 2 semesters in high school and barely passed each time!) Even though I had a small portable manual typewriter (and still have it tucked away somewhere - a Brother, I think), typing was so onerous and took so long that I lied to my instructors and told them that I didn't have one, and that the ones in the university library needed new ribbons -- and got away with hand written papers nearly 100% of the time. As a working student, that saved me from very many very late nights. Fortunately I have very legible handwriting which must have been the key.

    I still struggle, frankly, with the required data entry on computers at work. Just slow and constantly having to correct typos, although my speed is improved from my college days.

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  • Lindsey_CA
    last year

    At the end of the school year in June 1961, my sister said she wanted to take typing in Summer School because she hadn't taken it during that school year, and she knew she wanted to be able to type her school papers the following school year. My sister had just finished 7th grade, and I had just finished 6th grade. Our parents asked me if I wanted to take the typing class, too, and I said yes. Our father told us that if we could type 35 words per minute by the end of the Summer School session, he would get us a typewriter. As Bob noted, above, "The metric used in the class to measure how well you were typing was number of words typed per minute, minus one for each mistake made."

    My older sister and I each received a brand new portable (with a hard carrying case) Smith Corona manual typewriter for Christmas 1961. I still have mine, but I don't know if my sister still has hers.

    I had ended the session at 45 wpm with no errors.

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  • Alisande
    last year

    Smith Corona! That's the name of the typewriter I was trying to remember. I used it for years before getting the IBM. Lindsey, I tried to Like your post, but it didn't work.

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  • patriciae_gw
    last year

    Typing was required in 9th grade at my Overseas dependents school. Being run by the military where men typed everyone had to learn. Their thinking was all of us were going to college or the military and you would need typing. Smart actually. I sucked big time. As an over achiever sort of student I had perfect grades. I made a D my first semester. I did not get much better. The harder I tried the worse it was. My fingers had minds of their own. It was a mess. Doomed. My sisters are good at it. Still I got a typewriter for graduation. A portable Smith-Corona-in blue of course with the hard case. One of my younger sisters still has it last I heard. You might think this was preparation by my parents for college but my mother did not believe in college for girls. She saw it as a waste of time and money. You were going to get married or some such nonsense. I am not sure why I got a typewriter. I was grateful when computers came along. I know where the backup key is automatically. I spend a good deal of time backing up but I do type much better than I used to. We had electrics in the library at college but I never mastered using one-took a light touch. Fortunately the College of science did not approve of papers for undergrads. They saw them as a waste of professors time. I am not convinced of that. Still I didn't have to do much typing.

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  • marylmi
    last year

    I was in the ninth grade when I got mine. I still have it plus I also have an electric one. Hate to get rid of them. Sometimes you need one to do something that can't be done on the computer.

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  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
    last year

    Not my first typewriter, but one my Dad brought home when I was 10 or 11 years old. It was a Royal and, of course, it was not electric. Electric typewriters had not even been invented then to my knowledge. I loved that thing. All I could do was hunt and peck, but that worked until several years later, I took typing in high school, still on manual typewriters. Even my very first office job had manual typewriters. Guess that lets you know how old I am. LOL

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  • wildchild2x2
    last year

    Yes. I was in the 9th grade and typing was pretty much a requirement for girls in those days. It was a portable Royal, but in a compact version. I did enjoy using it a lot, but for personal use, not for my typing skills. I liked writing letters and copying poetry and song lyrics on it. I also did book reports on it.

    My parents had good intentions but were rather clueless about the appropriateness of things they bought me. I found the "mini" typewriter too small to get the type of practice I really needed since the manual ones at school were full sized. Our schools used World Book to outline our reports. The reports were required to follow the outline. Of course my parents decided they would not have to take me to the library by buying a set of Britannica. So I had to spend lunch hours in the school library while my parents were disappointed and failed to understand why I wasn't using that beautiful set at home. Same with a guitar. I wanted to take lessons with a friend. So I found this huge Spanish guitar under the tree that Xmas. Way,way too big for a beginner with my tiny short fingered hands. I was too intimidated to correct them on why I almost immediately lost interest. My brother and I were supposed to be grateful and to point out that something they got for us was not appropriate would not have gone over well.

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  • eld6161
    last year

    I know I used a manual one that I probably got from my parents. When I entered grad school, I bought myself and an electric typewriter. This was in the early 80's.

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  • PRO
    last year

    HS graduation gift. Electric portable! Loved that thing!

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  • kittywhiskers
    last year

    I was probably 15 or 16 when I got a portable manual typerwrier in a carrying case. I think I still have it some where after about 50 years.

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  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX
    last year

    I inherited my sister's portable manual typewriter when I was in typing class in high school. I bought a used IBM Selectric self correcting when I was in college. I still had it years later when my mother in law started having a bad tremor in her hands and couldn't write. So I gave it to her and she loved it. It is probably still there in the Oklahoma house.

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  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    last year

    My first typewriter was a toy that really did type. My sis and I used to bang away on it and were semi-self taught while still in grade school. I don't remember now what it used for a ribbon, or how we went about getting replacements. I took an office skills class in high school and aced the class. Shorthand! I was good at shorthand. I think I used it all of about six times after high school, taking class notes at the junior college. It seems like my mother had a smith corona at home by then. She'd needed to go to work (her first job) when my dad became ill and taught herself to type to prepare for her first interview. Loved the IBMs at my first part time job, and I bought a used one for home. Of course with my first desk top computer and Microsoft Office, a typewriter became obsolete and its been years since I've owned one.

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