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Funny Quotations
about Typewriters

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The children... what they are in the world for I don't know, for they are of no practical value as far as I can see. If I could beget a typewriter — but no, our fertile days are over. ~Mark Twain, letter to William Dean Howells, 1899

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! –tg]

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, Los Angeles Times

A catless writer is almost inconceivable; even Ernest Hemingway, manly follower of the hunting trophy and the bullfight, lived waist-deep in cats. It's a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys. ~Barbara Holland (1933–2010), The Name of the Cat, 1988

And how can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter? ~Woody Allen, "Selections from the Allen Notebooks," 1973

And the lunch hour is always extended unofficially for another half hour or so by the judicious smuggling of refreshments from the cafeteria. The necessity for concealment produces some quite unpleasant results. A piece of chocolate dropped into the innards of a typewriter can produce a mechanical problem undreamed of by I.B.M. ~Gerald Raftery, "Ambrosia — with Mayonnaise Yet!," in The New York Herald Tribune, 1961

I have the oldest typewriter in the world. It types in pencil. ~Steven Wright, A Steven Wright Special, 1985,

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, 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 (1835–1910), "The First Writing Machines"

The typewriter is so much more to be reckoned with than the sword. ~Lee Thayer, Persons Unknown, 1941

I was once interviewed by Barbara Walters... and while we were off-camera, she seemed very interested in my prolificity and wondered whether I didn't sometimes want to do other things, rather than writing. "No," I said. She said, "What if the doctor gave you six months to live. What would you do?" I said, "Type faster." ~Isaac Asimov, "Prolificity," I. Asimov: A Memoir, 1994  ["It happened. He didn't brood. He did try to write faster, but eventually I had to type for him because his hands wouldn't work. Nevertheless, he was a writer to the end." ~Janet Jeppson Asimov, "Compulsive Writing," Notes for a Memoir on Isaac Asimov, Life, and Writing, 2006 —tg]

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

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Original post date 2012 Jun 25
Last saved 2020 Aug 30 Sun 19:30 PDT

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