Last typewriter factory closes, Luddite screams of “they terk er jebrss” screech

April 26th, 2011

When I was in college, Penn State–which is in central Pennsylvania where it snows for about 5 months straight–installed heated pipes underneath the sidewalk. When it snowed, the snow would immediately melt. I thought this was an absolutely amazing invention. One of my Luddite friends complained that these pipes would eliminate the jobs of the workers who shoveled the walk ways. Sigh. What about all of the new and innovative jobs that this new technology would enable and promote? People can now efficiently travel? There is less risk of injury from slipping (fewer jobs for attorneys too!). What about the people who built these pipes? Etc.

I would also use as a response to Ludditism the argument that the invention of computers, which everyone loves, will put typewriter manufacturers out of business. Yes, people who build typewriters will lose their jobs. But other sectors of the economy will gain jobs, and this new technology will promote prosperity and wealth unimaginable in the age of typewriters.

I cheered, vindicated, when I read that the last typewriter factory closed! My prophecy has been fulfilled.

The world’s last typewriter factory is selling its final batch of 500 typewriters to concentrate on building refrigerators, ending an era that began in 1867 with the production in the U.S. of the world’s first commercial typewriter, India’s Business Standard newspaper reports.

Godrej and Boyce, an Indian company that makes the Godrej Prima, says it stopped production in 2009 and won’t be making any more after it unloads the final 500.

Progress FTW!

Sadly, it isn’t true (yet). Gawker poured cold water on my joy:

But rest easy, annoyingly hirsute hipster Luddites loitering at local cafes: The typewriter is alive and well . . .

The typewriter is “far from dead,” [says] Ed Michael, General Manager of Sales at Moonachie, NJ-based Swintec.

“We have manufacturers making typewriters for us in China, Japan, Indonesia,” Michael says. “We have contracts with correctional facilities in 43 states to supply clear typewriters for inmates so they can’t hide contraband inside them,” Michael explained.

The thought of hipster Luddites scares me.