A technology extinction event?

Typewriter playdate

(file this post under frivolous banter)

In a post the other day I was positing that the declaration of "X is dead" is usually a good indicator of a charlatan/self-promoter. I suggested that technologies rarely die, but find more nuanced, specialist audiences. Some people commented that technologies NEVER die. 

So, just for discussion – is the typewriter a contender for a technology that will actually die. The last one in Britain was produced yesterday. I know there are some existing users, writers often, who still like to craft their work on a typewriter. But this is a habit, and a declining market. This is very distinct I would suggest, from a new audience discovering a preference for the old technology, as we've seen with analogue cameras and vinyl records. These typewriter fans would suggest otherwise. I think people can make a case for preferring a typewriter to work on (it makes you think more about what you commit to paper, it forces a linear sequence rather than cut and paste, etc), but I think these only apply if you started out on a typewriter, they're not compelling enough to make you want to use one over the convenience of a word processing package. Anyone who has used a typewriter for typing a long document on will know these romantic preferences soon wear thinner than your correction fluid.

Then there's typewriters as objets d'art, which I think is valid, they are quite exquisite machines. But admiring them in a museum is different from them being used in anger.

So what do people reckon, will the typewriter die with its existing set of fans, or will it find a new existence with a niche audience?



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