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 can't 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.