Sic transit Smith Corona

I’ve had several people tell me that the last factory on the planet making typewriters is closing. You can read the link here (click).

I recently held Ogden’s first ever type in, and wrote a column, (click) but the shutting down of this factory doesn’t mean much to me. I have plenty of typewriters, and can easily find more. The real quality machines, the Smith Coronas and Remingtons and Underwoods, went out of production years ago.

I’ve seen this a lot: Film cameras are a dying breed — Minolta and Olympus no longer make them, and Nikon only makes one or two. But the factories that made my favorites in this country — the Speed Graphics and classic Kodaks and others — shut down years ago. Leica still hangs on, but the film cameras it makes now are pretty much token manufactury, something for the true film fans.

Reality: Their older mechanical film cameras are still all over the place, still work great and still meet the demand for the most part. My 50-year-old Kodak Medalist, or Leica M2, or others, do the same for me.

So, the factory dies because nobody needs a new one. In a way, there is a lesson here: Modern gadgets will never outlive their manufacturing base because the junk they make today will never last that long. Even if the software is still around, or the technonogy doesn’t outrun it, the simple mechanical softness of what is made today will doom them.

At which point I’ll still be able to photograph the wreckage with my Speed Graphic, or Leica M2, and write about it on my old Remington.

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One Response to Sic transit Smith Corona

  1. James "K" Florence says:

    Charley,

    I regress in stating my first manuel was an “Olympus”. In a
    South Ogden Central Junior class ratio of 31 pupils. The U.E.A.
    superintendent had the forsighte to place an instructor by the
    name of Perko. {i.e. “Grounds for Coffee”}
    Programming my physc for the inordinate amounts of Java I
    would be gullping in more mature years as a copy-writer, news,
    & public affairs editor. I have always “hunt & pecked” my way
    through the outlay of letters, numbers and punctuation.
    Amazingly enough. I even submitted a thesis of dutifull lenght
    on BYU-Dan and Victor Ludlows, “Restored Church Doctorine”.
    This while performing Service on a Provo Mental Health Institute
    Campus, on a rustic-manuel “pioneer-typewriter”. I must admit
    that the labor-intensive task of black/red ink ribbon change; that
    teamed with just the right “blotting” of “White-Out” for stuck letter
    type-O’s was quite the hoot!
    That was back in 1986. Since then I have graduated with the aide
    of my Dad’s Auerospace Firm and have aquired word-processing
    faculties with ink-jet capabilities, in social networking and scribe.
    Charley. One or two cubes of sugar? “Borne to be Wired!!”

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