Last typewriter factory in the world shuts down

By on April 26, 2011, 2:31 PM
Godrej and Boyce, the last company in the world still manufacturing typewriters, has closed its doors. As a result, if you still want to buy such a device, you'll soon only be able to find used ones, and they'll likely only be available in antiques shops or the like.

Update: After the news about typewriters going the way of the dodo spread all over the Web, another manufacturer called Swintec based on the New Jersey area raised its voice to say the niche market for the once ubiquitous machine is alive and well. According to a Fox News report, Swintec has offshore manufacturing facilities in Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia, and its main clients range from offices needing to fill forms like birth certificates to prisons. Reportedly the company has contracts with correctional facilities around the country to supply clear typewriters for inmates, so "they canít hide contraband inside them." The rest of the original story is below.

"We are not getting many orders now," Milind Dukle, Godrej and Boyce's general manager, told The Daily Mail. "From the early 2000s onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us. 'Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year. But this might be the last chance for typewriter lovers. Now, our primary market is among the defence agencies, courts and government offices."

Godrej and Boyce, which has been around for about 60 years now, today shut down its last plant in Mumbai, India. For decades, the company was producing and selling tens of thousands of units annually. It the early 1990s, it was still able to sell 50,000 machines, but in 2010, less than 20 years later, that annual number dropped to fewer than 800. Now, the company has about 200 machines left, and most of those are in Arabic languages.

The typewriter is a mechanical device with keys that, when pressed, cause characters to be printed on a medium, usually paper. The first commercial typewriter was produced in the US in 1867 and by the turn of the century had developed into the standardized QWERTY format keyboard that we still have on keyboards today. The device was used extensively through much of the 20th century by many authors and businessmen.

By the end of the 1980s, however, word processors and personal computers largely displaced typewriters in the settings where they previously had been ubiquitous in the Western world. The devices were still common in India until recently, however, although demand for the machines fell in the last 10 years as consumers finally switched to computers.




User Comments: 21

Got something to say? Post a comment
KG363 KG363 said:

I like how you described what a typewrite is. lol

I think most of us can identify them

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

kg363 said:

I like how you described what a typewrite is. lol

I think most of us can identify them

You know, most of my classmates at the IT-school don't even know that there are mice with balls inside! (mechanical ones)

Never say never...

Cueto_99 said:

It just happen last week... My mother lost her wallet in a cab, so we inmediately went to a police station to notify the situation... I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw an old lady typing down the incident in an old typewriter... I just had to take that picture... I'll upload it later when I get home

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Well, that makes it official...mechanical typewriters will now become the "must have" implememt of choice for any "serious" writer.

I give it six months before the relative peace and quiet of public parks and cafe's is shattered by the incessant clack-clack-clack of budding Hemmingway's, Faulkner's and Steinbeck's.

EDIT: WTH! The correction fluid didn't work on "implement"

dotVezz said:

As a mechanical gadgetry nerd, this is really sad to me. My roommate has a small, classy mechanical typewriter and I've been drooling over it for a while now... this just means that it'll be harder to get my hands on one for myself.

I think I remember when I was a kid, Goodwill always had good old things like this... maybe it's time to go and see if they still do.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Lokalaskurar said:

kg363 said:

I like how you described what a typewrite is. lol

I think most of us can identify them

You know, most of my classmates at the IT-school don't even know that there are mice with balls inside! (mechanical ones)

Never say never...

WHAT? MY MOUSE HAS BALLS!? SWEET!

Guest said:

Hate to cite Gawker, but...

http://gawker.com/#!5795649/relax-theyre-still-making-typewr
ters

AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

As soon as you know it they will stop making pennies, which will make life easier but it will also be sad...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Good riddance to typewriters, I say! I used to go through an entire correction ribbon, in the space of a 5 page paper....:o:

Timonius Timonius said:

maybe now we can finally switch away from qwerty keyboards? ughh, it's probably too late

Lurker101 said:

Lokalaskurar said:

You know, most of my classmates at the IT-school don't even know that there are mice with balls inside! (mechanical ones)

Never say never...

Just means they don't know what a pain it is to "defluff" a mouse or how sodding annoying it is to find out, mid-game, that you missed a bit of fluff on the edge of horizontal roller

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

WHAT? MY MOUSE HAS BALLS!? SWEET!
Well just one actually. And you know what they say, "there's nothing crazier than a one-balled mouse".........

Lurker101 said:

Except maybe those atrocious, roller-ball mice

Guest said:

I just hope the electricity holds out. D'oh, it is dark in here...

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

msnbc reported that there is still one manufacturer left, after making this same report. So don't fret!

mailpup mailpup said:

Don't overlook the update in Emil's article about the correction.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Good riddance to typewriters, I say! I used to go through an entire correction ribbon, in the space of a 5 page paper....:o:

No greater truth has ever been spoken at TechSpot. And then there were those professors who didn't like the fact that you used a correction ribbon. Pristine, I tell you! Pristine!

Guest said:

Doesn't brother still make them? A few office supply stores sell Brother typewriters.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

maybe now we can finally switch away from qwerty keyboards? ughh, it's probably too late

Oh it's waaaay too late.

I tried myself with the DVORAK layout but I spent so much time hunting for keys I gave it up a few days later.

Still have my rearranged DVORAK keyboard in the closet though

Guest said:

I don't know why but I love the clicks n clack sounds my typewriter makes... :)

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Guest said:

I don't know why but I love the clicks n clack sounds my typewriter makes...

I do know why my typewriter drives me nuts - the 'krikihaki' sounds more like a hammer struck towards a wooden floor, at about 50 words per minute - really deafening. Facit sure knew how to make prestigious handywork.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.