A manual typewriter
Royal mechanic manual portable typewriter
Image credit: © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar

I’m so old, I learned how to type on a manual typewriter. (I’m not so old that electric typewriters didn’t exist, it’s just that my junior high school didn’t have them.) I didn’t care much for manual typewriters, but I loved electric typewriters—especially those, like the IBM Selectric, with its ball-shaped typing element rather than a bunch of individual hammers. Once I started using an electric typewriter, I quickly figured out that I could compose text at a keyboard more quickly and efficiently than using pen and paper, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. Today, June 23, is Typewriter Day—that is, the anniversary of the date, in 1868, when Christopher Latham Sholes was awarded patent number US79265A for his typewriter design—the first configuration to become a commercial success.