Now this is what I call a keyboard! I've always loved typewriters and honed my keyboard skills on a variety of manual clackers of the last century. Unlike modern devices, which are relatively soulless and infinitely predictable, old typewriters have character. Imagine the pleasure of having to make corrections with Tipp-Ex (does it still exist?) or, before that particular boon to secretaries everywhere, the fortified and highly abrasive typewriter eraser than invariably made a hole in the paper. Those were the days. If you wanted to revise a document, the solution was easy and exquisitely cathartic: Just retype it.
Typewriters featured large in my early working life. In my first job as a bank clerk I laboured in a large branch in a large city. But there was absolutely no mechanical help other than one ancient Royal typewriter. It was well before the days of computers and all ledgers were still maintained in copperplate handwriting. The same ledgers, in pounds, shillings and pence, were added up (or "cast") in the traditional way, by me. We were much nearer to Bob Cratchit than to Steve Jobs. Statements, when requested, were typed individually by looking at the ledger and copying the entries line by line. The room for error was significant, of course, and customers' statements were peppered with erasures.
Then, in my second job as a journalist, the typewriter was the centre of my world. We had the choice of a vast collection of models, ancient and modern. The old Underwoods from the 20s were fun, but not the fastest of beasts. I much preferred the sleek new (and German) Olympia which produced much better results and was far easier on the fingers. Fortunately, this was all good practice and I'm grateful the computer industry never succeeded in banishing the qwerty keyboard. It has its faults, but it's my world and I can now type like a winged zephyr.
In case you thought all this was history, a character called Jack Zylkin can convert your ancient portable into an iPad keyboard. For only $75 you can get a kit which uses a strike board to create a circuit which is then ported to your iPad via a USB cable. Nirvana! I want one of these. And how I wish I'd had one back in the days typing endless statements while customers fretted at the counter.