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Quotations about Typewriters
In the late '70s, I bought a typewriter — portable enough for world travel and sturdy enough to survive decades of ten-fingered beatings. I've since acquired many more — each different in design, action, and sound. Each one stamps into paper a permanent trail of imagination through keys, hammers, cloth and dye — a softer version of chiseling words into stone. ~Tom Hanks (b.1956), introduction to Hanx Writer, 2014 [Hanx Writer is an iPhone and iPad app that recreates the experience of a manual typewriter, developed by Hitcents.com.
A good author dances on typewriter keys. ~Terri Guillemets
Man is a type-writing machine, unconsciously printing his daily record, to be submitted to the great Proof-reader. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897
We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true. ~Robert Wilensky, 1996
I heard someone tried the monkeys-on-typewriters bit trying for the plays of William Shakespeare, but all they got was the collected works of Francis Bacon. ~Bill Hoest (1926–1988)
I heard that if you locked William Shakespeare in a room with a typewriter for long enough he'd eventually write all the songs by the Monkees. ~Author Unknown
How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter? ~Woody Allen
Here's to the Typewriter!
Health to her type!
Whether blond or brunette
Or budding or ripe.
If she be the right type
Be she buxom or slight,
When she doesn't type wrong
She is sure to typewrite.
~Oliver Herford, "To The Typewriter," Happy Days, illustrated by John Cecil Clay, 1917
I will now claim—until dispossessed—that I was the first person in the world to apply the typewriter to literature. The early machine was full of caprices, full of defects—devilish ones. It had as many immoralities as the machine of to‑day has virtues. After a year or two I found that it was degrading my character, so I thought I would give it to Howells.... He took it home to Boston, and my morals began to improve, but his have never recovered. ~Mark Twain, "The First Writing Machines"
Sometimes when I look at a thing I've written I get the feeling that I must have gone out of the room and left the typewriter running. ~Gene Fowler (1890–1960), to Cecil Smith of Los Angeles Times
We are not aware that anybody ever did actually die of a misprint in a textbook; we have authentic instances of deaths due to badly-written prescriptions. Quite apart from such a tragic consideration as this, however, illegibility on the part of a doctor is apt to cause all sorts of embarrassment; and everybody's handwriting is more or less illegible to everyone else. Anyway, handwriting is old-fogeyish and out of date in these days. The clear, neat, unmistakable print of the typewriter is the only justifiable method of the twentieth century. ~Multiplex Hammond Writing Machine ad, "Department of Progressive Advertisers," The American Journal of Clinical Medicine, May 1918
My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane. ~Graham Greene, International Herald Tribune, 1977
Stories live in typewriters. Try a different typewriter — you may get a different story. ~Terri Guillemets
The biggest obstacle to professional writing today is the necessity for changing a typewriter ribbon. Any school that can teach me how to do this can triple my earning capacity overnight (making it three dollars). Anybody can write, but it takes a man with snake-charmer's blood to change a ribbon. ~Robert Benchley (1889–1945) [Ditto for the modern-day printer toner cartridge!
Don't be too harsh to these poems until they're typed. I always think typescript lends some sort of certainty: at least, if the things are bad then, they appear to be bad with conviction. ~Dylan Thomas, letter to Vernon Watkins, March 1938
The typewriter is so much more to be reckoned with than the sword. ~Lee Thayer, Persons Unknown, 1941
[N]ot that typewriting always insures success, but... a penscript unless it is unusually legible is foredoomed to failure. When, in this competitive age, the vast majority of writers have their stuff typewritten, it will not pay you to have your penscript stamp you as an amateur. ~Victor Lauriston, "Literature as a Business," The Writer, June 1905
First of all, your manuscript should be neatly and correctly typewritten. I don't care how legibly you may write, you can't compare with the printed letters of the machine. ~Leslie W. Quirk, How to Write a Short Story, 1906
If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster. ~Isaac Asimov
An old racetrack joke reminds you that your program contains all the winners' names. I stare at my typewriter keys with the same thought. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
All good writers have a cherished beat-up typewriter and a favorite well-maintained pen. ~Terri Guillemets
The type-writer is a machine with an educational future. A dilettante may object to its introduction into the schools, but its practical success wherever it has been answers all objections.... [W]riters can do more work on the type-writer with less visual fatigue than with pen and ink. The boys and girls who learn its use in school exercises become acquainted with a labor-saving friend which will stand by them through life. ~"Editorial," Common School Education: Devoted to the Art of Instruction, William A. Mowry, ed., January 1887
Your letter's received—and I see you
Seem to think my pen-script is blind,
And suggest that (from trouble to free you)
I ought a typewriter to find...
~Joel Benton, "To a Bad Penman," Home and Country Magazine, April 1894
I've had secrets come out of my typewriter in invisible ink. ~Terri Guillemets
They'll find ink in my veins and blood on my typewriter keys. ~Terri Guillemets
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