Innovative technologies have brought along a trend that no one would have expected: a desire for the old. With the growth in popularity of streaming services, more and more consumers are investing in record players and Vinyl versions of their favorite albums. In a world where music seems to drift onto our devices as if conjured from the air, individuals are seeking the tangible. This obsession with Vinyl is inevitably peaking, as storefronts stock up on brightly colored record players and Taylor Swift’s Reputation in Vinyl. As the trend approaches its crest, another is just beginning to form: the rebirth of typewriters.
Perhaps it is our culture’s reliance on computers that has led to the shift towards typewriters. Laptops undoubtedly offer an array of methods for people to get their work done quicker, easier, and more efficiently. However, they also present a myriad of distraction. From BuzzFeed quizzes to YouTube tutorials, the Internet provides a slew of alternatives to productivity. The echoing ping from your messages icon proves to be a hotbed of procrastination.
Typewriters bring individuals back into the focused space necessary for studying, writing research proposals, or expressing creativity. Without the option to roam the Internet aimlessly or accumulate superfluous items in online shopping carts, consumers are becoming more and more attracted to typewriters. The tangibility of the paper and ink also brings a physical satisfaction to writing that has been lost since Microsoft Word took its place, and artists could find the click of typewriter keys to be more fulfilling.
Its productivity aside, typewriters also lure consumers in aesthetically. Like record players, typewriters have been modernized for the age of Instagram. They sit idly in windows as the perfect backdrop for a quaint vintage shop or a stationary store. They populate Anthropologies everywhere, and although many are vintage, they sport contemporary colors. Bold magentas and vibrant blues entice consumers, as they picture the perfect photo: their typewriter next to their favorite coffee mug and a stack of books.
But simple, authentic nostalgia doesn’t always win the eyes of the consumer. Urban Outfitters sells the Qwerkywriter Wireless Typewriter Keyboard. The keyboard mimics the feel of working on an old typewriter but connects to the Bluetooth of computers, tablets, and phones (Urban Outfitters). The gift-like qualities of products like these further increase typewriters’ popularity and pull among shoppers.
However, the most intriguing aspect of typewriters is their collectability. The search for a vintage typewriter is not easy, but this is part of the fun for many typewriter enthusiasts. Online auction sites, antique shops, estate sales, and thrift stores have found an important role in the resurgence of typewriters (Melville House). Not to mention, typewriter collecting is a hobby shared by beloved celebrities like Tom Hanks. The newfound interest in collecting typewriters is analyzed in the 2016 documentary California Typewriter, and features a handful of celebrities (Senior Planet). Even John Lewis, a typewriter repairman in Albuquerque, raved to Melville House about the abrupt rise in demand for his business.
As an alternative to the crowded spaces of one’s laptop, the typewriter has secured its place in our modern culture. Increased productivity and creativity combined with an aesthetic, nostalgic appeal has surely played a role in the rebirth of the typewriter. Typewriter collecting will further develop as a hobby as individuals continue to search their local thrift stores for hidden gems. One day, perhaps, the bright lights of the computer screen will be replaced with the clacking sounds of a typewriter, as writers dare to combat the overwhelming distractions of our time.
Featured image via openclipart.org.