Communication then and now: “you’ve come a long way baby…”

This post got started when a blog friend that I follow on The Simple Life of a Countryman’s Wife wrote about receiving a vintage, Brother, manual typewriter from her Mother-in-Law.  Reading her post, that was written using the typewriter, caused me to remember when I learned to type on this!

This baby was introduced on July 31, 1961 and turned 50 this year!  No one uses them anymore, but do click the picture for photo credit and more about the IBM Selectric.

Now, calling something from the 60s and 70s vintage just boggles my mind, but in the realm of communications the typewriter has “…come a long way baby…”

Of course, written communication is nothing new.  Humans were recording their thoughts and history on cave walls, some say, as far back as 32,000 years.  The Lascaux cave paintings discovered in 1940 are perhaps the most well-known of these.

(Please click for more photos and for credit)

You simply must go to the Lascaux site and see this interactive display: the Lascaux virtual tour

From painted murals for communication we then went to writing on clay tablets and stone.

(Click the photograph to link to the photo’s source.)

Remember the very famous Rosetta Stone?

Later, it was on to scrolls made of hides and papyrus, and of course, all handwritten!  I do not think I would have enjoyed the life of a scribe, too exacting… but then in those days the job of scribe was a male dominated position!

(Click the photograph to link to the photo’s source.)

Dead Sea Scrolls

The invention of paper led to the creation of books.  All were hand-made and very time-consuming to produce, and that led to the printing press by Gutenberg in 1440.  This was a vast improvement and cut production costs.   However, the most important thing about this invention was that it brought books, most notably the Bible, to the masses.

Now of course, by this time we were communicating via letter, but it was still a slow process.

Fast forward to the typewriter…

The first typewriter was invented in 1864.   It is made of wood! 

Please click the photo to follow the a link to the Peter Mitterhoffer Typewriter Museum, and there you will find a timeline on the invention typewriters!  Very interesting I promise!

I won’t go into all the details of the typewriter’s evolution as Mr. Mitterhoffer’s museum site does a fine job of that.  However I would like to share a little Youtube video about the IBM Selectric.  When these hit the typing lab at Claremont High we all thought it was a revolution in typing, and it turns out we were right!  It was the revolution that led to word processing!

Ah… that sound…  It was thrilling in its day.

So today, unlike the Countryman’s Wife  who enjoyed writing to us on her manual typewriter, I write to you on my new computer that Bob built for me.  It is a wonder of modern technology, and beats heck out of my old laptop that was being held together with a rather large binder clip.  😉  It’s fast, sleek, and imagine, it has replaced all the functions of the aforementioned forms of communication!

What will tomorrow bring us?

A special Thank you to the Countryman’s Wife for inspiring today’s post

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16 thoughts on “Communication then and now: “you’ve come a long way baby…”

    • pixilated2 says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, and yes, I am also very grateful for the computer. I have never been an accurate typist! Fast, but less than accurate is OK on the computer but it was death on the typewriter… And to answer your question, yes I am enjoying my new computer. It is so much faster than the old one, and the keyboard and mouse are wireless which allows me to work on my quilting and the computer from across the room! Feeling spoiled and loving it… 😉

  1. Penny says:

    Wow, do I feel old! We still have two manual Royal typewriters around here, one the portable I used to ploddingly type my college papers, and a bigger desktop model that Dave had.The “portable” weighs about 15 pounds, and several of the keys stuck the last time I used it, about 20 years ago. Dave actually used the big one fairly often, but hasn’t for about 5 years, I guess. It’s easier to do envelopes on that than on the computer and printer, I think. When Dave left General Dynamics, they were getting rid of all their office equipment and he brought home a big electric one, not a Selectric, though, I don’t think. A huge machine, though. I’m not sure we still have it; he could never get it to actually work, just felt it was a waste to just toss it out like they were doing with so much stuff when they moved to Tuscon.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Oh Penny I agree… but I’m not willing to go backwards in time when it comes to technology and communication! That would just drive me bats. Already in typing this to you I have made four errors. I much prefer the ease with which I can backspace and then retype my mistakes! As for the big machine from GD, well, it probably isn’t worth fixing, and even if you tried to, who has parts? Time to recycle it I think. 🙂 ~ L

  2. Cindy Kilpatrick says:

    Wonderful history here, Lynda. That wooden typewriter is a new one on me. I still have the little electric I bought many years ago, but miss most the Selectrics I have used for work. I would still prefer doing envelopes and other odd items on it. It was powerful – and you could back-space and erase, it was just that indentation from the wacker-thing with the letters on it that you couldn’t get rid of. I miss the clack-clack too. It felt so productive!

    • pixilated2 says:

      LOL, Cindy! Funny how the blog business goes… I almost pulled this post. Glad you (and several others) liked it. Guess it was just a slow burn. As for the typewriter, well, I certainly didn’t miss the manual variety, but the Selectric was great! ~ L

    • pixilated2 says:

      Yes, Steve. In the end, computing is truly the best medium. Bob (my husband) tried to talk me into a computer years ago, and I refused. I went for the Word Processor because it was familiar. Then when we got our home broken into, and I was liberated of the WP, I bought a little all-in-wonder Apple in a box. It soon became my best friend! 😉 ~ L

  3. cupconversations says:

    Great post and a great history of communication. I actually learned to type on the other manual Brother but mine (hand-me-down from my mother) was green. It also had a sticky “w” that used to make me crazy. I have an electric Brother that I still occasionally pull out for filling out forms. Thanks for sharing!

    • pixilated2 says:

      This fellow had my blog address and my “Communication then and now…” post link up on his page as a tie in to his article. I went to check him out and he’d said:

      “I will simply resolve to try to be a better person each day. And if I can do something to make the world a better place…”

      Sage advice, don’t you agree? ~ L

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