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The correcting feature of typewriters is not what I thought

  • Published on Sep 30, 2023 veröffentlicht
  • I was really taken aback when I learned how this works.
    Links 'n' stuff
    The Engineer Guy's video explaining the Selectric mechnism
    (It also has way better high-speed footage!)
    • IBM Selectric Typewrit...
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Comments • 0

  • Technology Connections
    Technology Connections  Year ago +3031

    I know, forgive me, the typewriter in the thumbnail ain't the one that does the correcting. It's just far prettier! It's also brown.
    Here's The Engineer Guy's great video on the Selectric:

    • Nøderak
      Nøderak Year ago +21

      we want the coffeemaker

    • nickterooze
      nickterooze Year ago +127

      To me it looks more like dark orange

    • Jim Urrata
      Jim Urrata Year ago +22

      I miss Bill's videos. (yes I'm old enough to still call it carriage return instead of enter)

    • 6581punk
      6581punk Year ago +4

      @nickterooze Darn, beat me to it.

    • Driftliketokyo34 Ftw
      Driftliketokyo34 Ftw Year ago +1

      It is indeed prettier.

  • Lizifer Morningstar
    Lizifer Morningstar Year ago +3900

    Just had one of those "floppy disk = save icon" moments where I realized that those little tabs you slide to adjust your margins in Word were once actual physical things on a typewriter.

    • Major Tom
      Major Tom Year ago +556

      What about the shift buttons. You shift digitally to use capital letter or a number or a sign. Back then you shifted the mechanism

    • Adrian Todd
      Adrian Todd Year ago +167

      Pretty sure they're still called "tab stops": the things that physically stop the carriage when you press the tab key. (I assume at least some typewriters supported multiple tab stops, though I've never actually seen one that fancy.)

    • Marco Krueger
      Marco Krueger Year ago +242

      I'm stunned by how I never questioned why it is called the "shift key". Now I know. Amazing!

    • DaimyoD0
      DaimyoD0 Year ago +73

      Same here! Also, I bizarrely had a conversation about skeuomorphs and keyboard layouts earlier today before watching this video.
      Edit: 12:27 I also had no idea that the standard 12 point font was based on the unit "characters per inch."
      Edit 2: Nevermind, they're totally unrelated! lmao
      Edit 3: For anyone wondering, skeuomorph is the term for a design element or appearance retained in a new version, like phone cameras making a shutter sound, etc. It is done not only for nostalgic and aesthetic reasons (Polaroid camera silhouette Instagram logo), but also as a sort of design language to expediate adoption of the new technology. For example, how keyboards don't need to be arranged like typewriters, but the configuration made the transition easier for typists, or how new computer users would know that a slider was for margin controls because it looks just like the slider used on a typewriter, or how audio production software UI sometimes uses virtual patch cables and dials. You could argue everything discussed so far in this (very fun) thread is a skeuomorph to some degree.

    • DaimyoD0
      DaimyoD0 Year ago +195

      @Marco Krueger Another fun fact: capital letters are called "upper case" because they were stored in the higher of two cases while not being used on a printing press.

  • D Brooks
    D Brooks 10 months ago +113

    The Selectric was a glorious machine - the keys were so wonderfully balanced and positioned and the golfball so fast that I could hit 100 wpm on it in my typewriting prime. It's a great example of a technology reaching absolute perfection just as it becomes irrelevant.

    • kitefan1
      kitefan1 2 months ago +7

      Yeah, I always wanted on when I was a student but couldn't afford the $1,000 to $2000 dollar equivalent price.

  • echoptic
    echoptic Year ago +275

    I love the sentence "The only thing better than perfect is standardized". So simple yet so true

    • Wesley Files
      Wesley Files 4 months ago +4

      But I don't think Mr. Connection agrees with the statement. I believe he was mocking this practice.

    • Sam Wellick
      Sam Wellick 3 months ago

      @Wesley Files it's how the world operates is what he's saying

    • Halinspark
      Halinspark 3 months ago +2

      @Wesley Files Perfect is hard. Standardized is at least consistent and predictable. Whether he's mocking it or not, it's still a good quote.

  • Scott Manley
    Scott Manley Year ago +514

    Omg that first 30 seconds describes my video creation process exactly.

    • Brian Arbenz
      Brian Arbenz Year ago +8

      Is that really you, Scott? Hello. I love your videos!

    • Chimaera32
      Chimaera32 Year ago +6

      Hullo, Scott! Whatever detours or frustrations your process generates for you (as any worthwhile creative endeavor does), it’s resulted in years of informative, entertaining, and downright awesome videos for us to enjoy, so thank you for sticking with it! Actually, it was your KSP videos that got me watching Clip-Share in the first place, so I should also thank you for being my Technology Connections connection.

    • No Comment Gameplay
      No Comment Gameplay 7 months ago +1

      Honestly, yes. I am surprised you have a collection of typewriters. At least a bit.

    • DJ Kinney
      DJ Kinney 5 months ago +3

      I wish you would go ahead and permanently get stuck in the creation process.

    • slidingontheice
      slidingontheice 4 months ago


  • testosteronic
    testosteronic Year ago +242

    My Nana let me play on her typewriter as a kid, I remember her showing me how to undo, and being amazed by the way a letter could be removed from physical paper like that. I remember investigating the "undo" ribbon to find the letters on it. I'm young enough to have grown up with home computers being common, undoing things seemed like a digital-only possibility, and that's why the undo on the typewriter was so impressive. So was learning that vinyl records work by having soundwaves carved into them, and then the needle running through those grooves turns them back into a sound. When you grow up with computers, digital things all working on the same principles, the physical, mechanical ways things can be done feels ingenious

    • Gremlin Man
      Gremlin Man 2 months ago +4

      vinyl records are a very specifically shaped chalkboard on which to scrape a very precise nail.

  • Tim Mackey
    Tim Mackey Year ago +92

    I think a whole show about the various carryovers from older technology to modern day (ie keyboard layout) would be fascinating.

    • Sam Wellick
      Sam Wellick 3 months ago +3

      A starting point would be to look up "skeuoumorph" (not sure of the spelling) on Google and find similar phenomenon

    • Renegade
      Renegade 3 months ago

      @Sam Wellick One too many Us. It's not skyoo-OOH-morph, after all

    • Sam Wellick
      Sam Wellick 3 months ago

      @Renegade yeah but the idea was communicated, i also mentioned I'm not sure of the spelling. I felt weird while typing that string of "euou" as well

    • Renegade
      Renegade 3 months ago +1

      @Sam Wellick I only commented on the spelling because you said you weren't sure smh

    • Sam Wellick
      Sam Wellick 3 months ago

      @Renegade understandable, have a great day

  • gudenau
    gudenau Year ago +7665

    "The only thing better than perfect is standardized!" is an amazing quote.

    • Jake Aurod
      Jake Aurod Year ago +197

      "Perfection is the enemy of the good."

    • fuzzylon
      fuzzylon Year ago +192

      I remember a manager teaching me this. Basically, if you're going to do something the wrong way if you do all of it the same wrong way it will be easier to put right afterwards.
      I still like using standardised approaches for everything today.

    • M Jasz
      M Jasz Year ago +89

      When the standard is bad, it makes everything bad, and standards are hard to change, because they're "standard" which causes stagnation in innovation, because no one wants to change "the standard" standards are good for a lot of consumers, but not for everyone.

    • Nenad Kralj
      Nenad Kralj Year ago +5

      typewriters = (this was) so satisfying 🙂👍🏼

    • MrAranton
      MrAranton Year ago +79

      The quote is amazing; however: The fact that the keys on a keyboard are staggered the way they are, is still useful. It helps with orienting yourself on the keyboard based on touch alone. Moving your finger from c to d or d to e feels different than moving from e to 3. It's not as relevant as the bumps on the f and the j key, but it is still useful, particularly with keyboards that have extra buttons above the F1-F12 line. Or if the keyboard is very compact and doesn't always sit in the same place, you'll feel that you're moving to the number before you see it on the screen.

  • Maikeru Go
    Maikeru Go Year ago +67

    That bit about period + apostrophe being used to create an exclamation mark actually explains why sometimes the mark on older typed documents (often seen in films) looked like it was italicized!

    PHOT0GUY 9 months ago +96

    I used an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter. You could use different font sizes and it could store pages in memory. This enabled creating a sheet with linework, corrections etc. and they just playing it back out. At that time some people were surprised seeing a typewriter typing out a sheet on its own with nobody pressing the keys.

    • D Taylor
      D Taylor 9 months ago +5

      I remember my boss placing one on my desk in a box unopened. It was to replace my manual typewriter.
      I recall getting frustrated when I tried to forcibly pull the carriage to the right.

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro 7 months ago +5

      IBM Selectrics were also often adapted for use as computer output devices. It was basically a matter of replacing the printing electronics that were driven by the keys, with circuits that could be driven by impulses from the computer.

  • Trillyana
    Trillyana 10 months ago +78

    As you mentioned, the QWERTY layout was created for typewriters. Once I learned it's inefficient, I switched to Dvorak. But then I had to use other computers too many times that didn't have Dvorak set up so I relearned QWERTY just so I can type both and I can switch back and forth effortlessly. The brain is magical.

    • John Doe
      John Doe 8 months ago +17

      The best thing about Dvorak is the baffled looks when people try to use your computer, and the fact they’ll leave it alone.

    • Trillyana
      Trillyana 8 months ago +13

      @John Doe When I was in college I left my laptop unattended for a second and someone tried posting something as me on Facebook, but it was in Dvorak, so he had to trial and error it until it worked. I commend his commitment to the bit

    • Jacob
      Jacob 20 days ago

      What in the hell is this keyboard? This is so confusing. I keep pressing Z instead of backspace. Maybe I could learn it but yikes

    • Jason Haines
      Jason Haines 12 days ago +1

      I joined, and now regret being on, the Dvorak bandwagon. Yes, it is a marginally better layout, but not nearly as much as the biased tests, run by its proponents, claim. QWERTY remains my mother tongue, but my use of it is too rusty and I admire your ability to be fluent in both.

    • Trillyana
      Trillyana 12 days ago

      @Jason Haines I use QWERTY on my work computer and Dvorak on my personal computer. As with anything, practice makes perfect!

  • Beth Mills
    Beth Mills 8 months ago +8

    My grandfather was an IBM sales engineer. All of us had a Selectric and damn what an amazing typewriter. He would write us letters using the script font ball. Totally miss that guy.

  • Twinello
    Twinello Year ago +42

    That was once again an interesting episode! It was actually quite interesting how much the mechanical keyboard influenced our modern keyboard. The "Shift" keys make sense, now!

    • David G
      David G Year ago +6

      Except "CapsLock" is wrong on computers. Try it on a real typewriter some time, it works differently. On a typewriter its a "shift lock" not a "caps lock".

    • Marco Nasaruk
      Marco Nasaruk 8 months ago +1

      @David G Windows does SHIFT LOCK while macOS does CAPS LOCK with non-letter keys not being affected.

  • AkridHunter
    AkridHunter Year ago +1816

    "Destroying these ribbon cartridges was often a matter of national security!"
    Fun fact, the standard form for end-of-day security checks in military buildings in the U.S. still lists destroying typewriter ribbons as a necessary task.

    • Judge Dredd
      Judge Dredd Year ago +96

      Probably they are still used in obscurity.

    • neutronenstern.
      neutronenstern. Year ago +43

      easyest way to make it unreadable is to write some bullshit with it onto some reusable leather sheet again, i suppose

    • Gordon Cordon
      Gordon Cordon Year ago +9

      Hey, see im a busy guy, i dont have time to watch all of this...
      From what i gathered from the first 2 minutes, as well as this comment, i imagine the typewriters used those ribbons that transfer ALL the ink, this when the ribbon is rewound, the ink readheres to blank space,
      Am i right, am i wrong? Do i need to watch this whole video to find out, or is my assumption correct. Please i need to go on with my day!

  • NAG3LT
    NAG3LT 9 months ago +86

    Hearing this and seeing old typewriters with their margin settings, makes me feel like younger generation seeing floppies and recognizing them only as “3D printed” save icons

    • Kevin Price
      Kevin Price 9 months ago +6

      The first systems I services as a technician used the 8" floppies. Yes they were called floppy for a reason; they were... well; floppy, lol! Then came the 5¼"; much less floppy. Then the 3½" diskette "stiffie" developed by Apple, then the CDRW and the DVD-RW. Of course nowadays disks/discs are pretty well obsolete, including the mechanical hard drive as all storage is quickly becoming solid state.

    • JollyRanchersGrandma
      JollyRanchersGrandma 9 months ago +5

      I still had my hands on floppy discs as a child in the early 2000s but what's astounding to me is my nephew born in 2015 had to have VHSs explained to him not too long ago. Dont even get me started on Cassette tapes lmao

    • otherlego
      otherlego 9 months ago +5

      What do you mean 3D printed?? lol. This generation isn’t that stupid. We know what a floppy disk is. (Seriously though, 3D printed? Genuinely no clue on that)

    • Quiet Wanderer
      Quiet Wanderer 9 months ago +1

      Found a Sony Mavica FD75 floppy disk camera a while back, the resolution is tiny but it's surprisingly fun, and the ejection/loading mechanism to change floppies when I've used up my 15~ shots is very satisfying, hilariously it has 10× optical zoom too which is still more than most phones.
      Still need to make a "floppy disk" holster to go with it so I don't need to carry my floppies around in that flimsy cardboard box...

    • D Taylor
      D Taylor 9 months ago +4

      ​@otherlego It's common knowledge... at least to us oldies. I recall seeing a TV show where they asked teenagers what a 3.5" floppy was and the kid said that it looked to a real version of the Save icon on his computer. Not so crazy when you think that he recognised the Save symbol, but would not have had a clue that it actually represented something in the real world.

  • 3 Dart Studios
    3 Dart Studios 10 months ago +32

    I didn't see it mentioned in comments so apologies if it already is. In the 70's my typewriter had black and red ribbon. It was the laptop version of a type writer that was slimmed down to fit in a brief case. Then in the 80's they sold ribbon that was black and white. Black ink and white out! With the correction ribbon right on the type ribbon I could get BLAZING speeds and top notch looking pages even though I flub at least twice a line! Really cool walk back to the selectric era of typing. Yes, they were AMAZING!

  • Nix the Lapin
    Nix the Lapin 9 months ago +80

    I got an old typewriter from my grandma that I absolutely adore. Because it’s old (older than the one used in this video), some keys do get stuck, but I really love it because of the old vibe of it. It also didn’t have that correcting feature built into it, so my dad later gave me white out tape that you’d put underneath the key and type over the letter. I thought it was the coolest thing ever when I got it as a kid. But wow, the model shown in the video and it’s corrections is seriously incredible!

    • Sergio Mendez
      Sergio Mendez 2 months ago

      You should get some oil (or whatever the appropriate lubricant is) for that typewriter! Help preserve it for as long as possible and I'm sure future generations will continue to admire it as you do.

  • gr8lakes 84
    gr8lakes 84 9 months ago +36

    My family owns a funeral home and up until Wayne county switched to electronic death certificates a few years ago we used a type writer to fill them out. We used the same model you had in the video!

  • Steven Gordon
    Steven Gordon 9 months ago +6

    I remember using my typewriter to write school papers in the late 90s. the family had recently acquired our first computer/printer already, but I’d just _blasted_ the ink cartridge by printing out way too many (wildly inaccurate) guitar tabs. so the typewriter maintained its usefulness for some time after haha

  • rocbolt
    rocbolt Year ago +2730

    In high school there was a specific state sponsored college scholarship that *required* the application form to be filled out with a typewriter. Our school post-secondary counselor dug one out of storage for the dozen or so of us that wanted to apply to line up and use in the school office area. The whole afternoon teachers wandered by and were staggered by the anachronistic _tack tack tacking_ going on in the corner. And yay that was twenty years ago now! Wonder how long that typewriter requirement hung on, and how much it was the wishes of an eccentric millionaire vs a quirky test of ones ability to find and utilize disappearing hardware...

    • Obelisk Demon
      Obelisk Demon Year ago +294

      a military base required typewriter typed paperwork for a rebar company's deliveries 5 years ago so that requirement might still be there to this day

    • Niya Blake
      Niya Blake Year ago +132

      You could have cheated with a dot matrix printer

    • IceBergGeo
      IceBergGeo Year ago +94

      Maybe it was a test of resourcefulness? If you can't figure this out, we don't want you.

    • SpyOne
      SpyOne Year ago +235

      It was most likely a holdover: most computer printers kinda sucked for the first couple of decades. And inkjet printers tend to use water soluble inks. So they wanted to make sure submissions were readable and wouldn't lose data if they got rained on, and that means "typewritten".
      Eventually that will get updated to "fill out the PDF form on our website".

    • greenaum
      greenaum Year ago +60

      @Niya Blake Nah, a daisywheel. Dot matrixes don't give that lovely crispness. They also don't give the characteristic blotches and splodges of a typewriter either, at least one with a fabric ribbon.
      Or else a laser printer. I defy this goofy college, whoever they were, to tell the difference, except laser printing looks better.
      Still as far as application forms go, lining it up so that the word processed text lines up with the boxes for each field, would take way longer, and a ton of practice runs, to get right on a computer. Somebody could spend a few hours doing it then save the document so that other users could use the layout, I suppose. Until they pressed "undo" too many times and it went wrong. Filling in forms is actually a case where a manual typewriter probably IS best. You can adjust the roller up and down in little gradients til it's just right, and you can see the form underneath, exactly where the letters are going to go.
      They were trying to HELP you by requiring a typewriter! Allowing a computer would have led to so many people bungling up the spacing and ragequitting, that only the REALLY dedicated applicants would be able to do it. Probably somewhere like MIT does that, and you write the Postscript by hand, after they give you the formulas they used to define the boxes (also probably in hand-written Postscript).
      Actually I dunno, MIT seems to have a lot more of people sticking googly eyes on an Arduino these days. Without even having to synthesize the plastic!

  • Darren Black
    Darren Black Year ago +17

    I am really grateful for you to producing this video. I feel like i learned a part of my history today. My maternal grandfather and family used to run a typewriting institute which got bankrupted by the computer revolution. My paternal grandfather worked in an Estate as a typist for 40 years or so and has a mechanical basket typewriter that i intend to adopt afyer his time and have it repaired as a family heirloom. Both my mother and uncle entered the banking career as stenographer before getting promoted to clerks and so on. So i am grateful that i learned something today

  • Ian Butler
    Ian Butler 9 months ago +6

    As someone who has tried restoring an old selectric, I am impressed by whoever aligned the tilt and rotate on that selectric. Mine are ever so slightly off

  • Kelly Radtke
    Kelly Radtke 9 months ago +25

    I learned to type on a typewriter in the late 80's early 90's I remember when we got the "correcting" typewriters to the consternation of our typing teacher who employed the T-shirt over the keyboard method of touch typing instruction. He quit when they wanted to install computers in his classroom in the early 90's. I can still touch type at a decent wpm, I'd make a decent 60's secretary. My grandma even had an old school typewriter I could type too fast to use without slowing down 🙂

    • John DoDo Doe
      John DoDo Doe 19 days ago

      Yeah, I took similar classes after school in anticipation of computer use (I still touch type on those) but had used typewriters at home before that, just without the touch typing technique .

  • I Learned Something New Today

    I worked as a legal secretary from 2008-2010. We used typewriters all the time to fill out preprinted forms, for envelopes, and to add quick notes to previously printed documents. I always loved the feel and sound of the typewriter. It was even more enjoyable than a mechanical keyboard.

  • Tayrtahn
    Tayrtahn Year ago +17

    We had one of those automatic ones in my elementary school! We loved to play around with it, especially the erasing feature - type out a long word, hit the button, and watch it magically stamp it away, letter by letter. Eventually the teacher had to stop us since we were going through the sticky erasure tape so fast!

  • invisibledave
    invisibledave Year ago +790

    When I was in middle school for typewriting class, they had removed the white-out strip so you couldn't undo things. I learned that the typewriter had an undo letter and an undo line feature. Since there was no white-out strip, if you hit undo, the keys would use the ink strip and make the letter on the paper. I then realized the ingenious thing about the undo line, I could use it to cheat.
    When the teacher made us sit and type the same long sentence over and over again while she walked around checking on us, I would just slowly type it the first time and then manually scroll the wheel down one notch and hit undo line. The typewriter would then re-type the entire line for me really fast. I would repeat these steps until I was at the end of the page. The teacher thought I was the fastest typer in the entire class. The trick was just to make sure to not make a mistake on the first line.

    • Kelly Grabill
      Kelly Grabill Year ago +55

      That's absolutely fantastic!

    • Reinbeers
      Reinbeers Year ago +77

      I'm surprised it could store an entire line of text.

    • Helium Road
      Helium Road Year ago +82

      The funny thing is that we used to have actual typing classes in school until at least the early 90s. In the military in the 1980s and early 90s, if you knew how to type you kept it to yourself because you'd get stuck filling out paperwork instead of doing whatever your job was supposed to be. The average person did not know how to type until suddenly everyone had a computer in their house.

    • Kelly Grabill
      Kelly Grabill Year ago +41

      @Helium Road and we've now come full circle. Nobody uses a keyboard except PC gamers and old people without smart phones.

    • Armchair Pilot
      Armchair Pilot Year ago +23

      @Kelly Grabill ya tell me about it, my elderly mother can do everything on her iPhone, but use a mouse on a computer, pft forget about it. "Son, what is double click"? Lol

  • MrMusiclover41
    MrMusiclover41 9 months ago +39

    I learned from hard experience with PC's to use labels for addressing envelopes! I am from the typewriter generation; my typing classes were in the late 1950's. I still have a portable Royal manual typewriter from about 1945. On my job, I had an IBM Selectric III which was a wonderful typewriter. Unfortunately, it was notorious for problems! All those little niceties were prone to trouble.

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro 7 months ago +1

      I wrote a Python script to manage it years ago. You give it the text and font, it measures the block and properly centres it both horizontally and vertically on the page.

    • DunRovin Station
      DunRovin Station 4 months ago +1

      My Smith Corona Skyriter from 1952 sits patiently on my office desk. She is loved and used often. I even customized her. She's a portable dream, and the crowds I draw when I take her on location to work :D Talk about powerful fingers. Typing on a computer keyboard and a typewriter are totally different, a computer just needs a tap and roll, a mechanical keyboard....well, there's a reason my dad used to call it a bang and mash. LOL

  • Froedl Metallmann
    Froedl Metallmann Year ago +2

    I found typewriters fascinating as a child, and still do as an adult.
    I always wondered about how the presumably complicated mechanics worked (I only knew the arms/basket type back then).
    Seeing, and trying out the erase function the first time struck me with awe in late Kindergarten, or so.

  • Berk Karşı
    Berk Karşı 4 months ago +1

    This is fascinating. I never knew typewriters had correction mechanisms. I always thought that once you made a mistake, there was no turning back. That modern typewriter's correction looks awesome. You can't even tell if there was a mistake on the paper that got removed.

  • Randy Mennie
    Randy Mennie 4 months ago

    My grandfather was a typewriter mechanic and I ended up in a PC Support career for a number of years. In high school, in the 70’s, I took typing with the sole purpose of meeting girls. In the end, it was full of other guys with the same modus operandi. I ended up becoming a very fast typist at a time when most guys had never touched a typewriter. It turned out to be a very good skill as personal computers make their appearance in the early 80’s. Especially being a support person. Just about everything you explained touched a memory of how life was different with typewriters. Even using a lowercase l rather than the missing 1 key.

  • ke6gwf - Ben Blackburn

    I used to repair IBM Selectric typewriters. I loved them, especially when you tear them apart and see exactly how they work to translate the key press into an exact 4 dimensional position for the type ball.
    Getting them adjusted after replacing a broken rotate or tilt tape, or other repairs, was always lots of fun lol

    • Paul Bunce
      Paul Bunce 11 months ago +1

      I was a large systems CE. We knew to not touch a selectri, but to call an OP guy as those things had maybe 175 sequential adjustments. And if you tried to jump into the middle to fix something you'd never get it running again.

    • ke6gwf - Ben Blackburn
      ke6gwf - Ben Blackburn 11 months ago

      @Paul Bunce you were very smart! Lol
      If you had to replace some internal component where all the tapes and such had to come off, you had to start at the beginning and adjust everything one step at a time.
      Good thing IBM had amazing service manuals walking you through each step.
      And if you got stuck, you could call their tech support and they would help you solve the issue.
      And they sold every single part on the machine! Unlike anything they make today... lol

  • Sam Rossetti
    Sam Rossetti Year ago +358

    "The only thing better than perfect is standardized" this is worthy of a Nobel prize!

    • Daniel Boger
      Daniel Boger Year ago +15

      Subtle jab about the EV charging cord fiasco

    • Hans
      Hans Year ago +1

      Damn, I needed that one last week.

    • NoName
      NoName Year ago +5

      [insert joke about modern programming languages not having standards]

    • NoName
      NoName Year ago +9

      @Daniel Boger fiasco?
      isn't it only tesla who has a different one?

    • Temperans
      Temperans Year ago +5

      @NoName you could say that they are standardly un-standardized.

  • NightCelica
    NightCelica 11 months ago

    I remember growing up in the 80's and seeing and using both manual and electric typewriters. Highly mechanical devices still fascinate me today.

  • Gheert
    Gheert 8 months ago +1

    My dad had an electornic typewriter and for 30 years I've wondered what the heck that triple sound I heard when hitting the delete key was. Glad that's one more mystery solved.

  • Aglavra Owl
    Aglavra Owl 11 months ago +1

    I would definitely watch more about the typewriters! I never knew that there were two types of that ribbon, and now I'm very curious about typing conventions you mentioned briefly.

  • Lyna
    Lyna 11 months ago +2

    Thanks as always for the video! It's always fun for me to walk down memory lane with typewriters.
    In case anyone didn't know and was curious to check it out, the IBM Selectric ribbons keeping a record of every character typed is (Spoiler Alert!) a major plot point in the Columbo episode "Now You See Him..." (1976): Having recently watched that one, it's a lot of fun to see an in-depth technical discussion on why and how Stefan Mueller messed up so badly!😄

    • Godminnette2
      Godminnette2 7 months ago +1

      I just watched that episode and had to come back to this video. The instant I saw the "golf ball" Columbo pointed out, I realized exactly what was about to happen.

  • John Smith
    John Smith 9 months ago +1

    I always manage to watch your videos for way longer without the impatience that I would have with other videos of even half the length. Very informative and engaging!

  • Matt
    Matt Year ago +931

    I would love a full Technology Connections deep dive into typewriters. I was bracing for a full explanation of the arrangement of the QWERTY keyboard. ("No, it was not to make you type slower, it was to prevent the slappy things that were close together from actuating at the same time and jamming")

    • Cuvtixo
      Cuvtixo Year ago +64

      but... "slappy things" close together actuating at the same time IS a matter of how fast one types! I learned to type on a mechanical typewriter, and I can assure you speed=jamming. If you type slow enough, the key's wouldn't jam. Maybe it's harder to grasp this without an old mechanical typewriter in front of you?

    • WarmongerGandhi
      WarmongerGandhi Year ago +94

      @Cuvtixo Yes, typing faster creates more jams, but it also matters which letters you're typing. If you type two letters whose "slappy things" are directly adjacent, you're much more likely to get a jam than if they are on opposite sides of the keyboard (or at least have a few "slappy things" between them). The QWERTY arrangement was an attempt to address the latter issue by separating common letter pairs, not, as is often claimed (especially by proponents of alternative keyboard layouts), to slow you down.

    • Alex Atkin
      Alex Atkin Year ago +40

      @WarmongerGandhi Indeed, slowing you down is just a byproduct of making common keys further apart, in order to make it less likely to type two adjacent keys close enough to hit each other. It would have been worse if they hadn't as you'd have to force yourself to slow down even more to prevent jams, so in practice it was actually to allow you to type faster, not slower.

    • Dominik Novosel
      Dominik Novosel Year ago +8

      I've actually got an old Yugoslavian UNIS TBM DeLuxe, it's built like a tank, and somehow, it only jams when you put actual effort into smashing down most of the keys.

    • cat
      cat Year ago +6

      so... it's to make you type slower so yhe slappy things don't jam

  • Gal Ghoul
    Gal Ghoul 3 months ago

    By the time I was a child typewriters were completely replaced by computers, but my kindergarten had a couple old, old ones that I loved to play with. This is fascinating stuff, I didn't know most of it!

  • Sjors Angevare
    Sjors Angevare Year ago

    I would definitely like a followup video on typewriters and their conventions that we still use!

  • Marc Colten
    Marc Colten Year ago +1

    Great episode. I learned to type in the 50s on a massive manual before moving on to electrics (first with a manual return and then fully electric) until breaking through to computers. It's been quite a ride.

  • romulusnr
    romulusnr Year ago +1

    Even before correction tapes, they made correction slips which were the same idea but on rectangles about 1''x2''. You would have to manually slide the slip inbetween the paper and the printhead, use backspace and manually retype. It was a little bit of a pain, but it was far better than the older method with liquid wite-out, which involved spooling up the paper, getting the bottle out, dipping and wiping the brush, dabbing it onto the bad word (usually very sloppily and difficult to do cleanly - a typist who could do this well was a god among typists) and waiting for it to dry before spooling the paper back down and typing over the hopefully-dry mistake. (Oh, also, with the correction slips, you had to be sure to put them in the right way, or else you'd just get wite out on the ribbon and nothing would happen to the text on the paper.)

  • Perry Brown
    Perry Brown Year ago +1

    In '77 (when I was 17 and commodity printers and computers were a long way from being a thing), I was mucking about with microprocessors (SCMP and 2650).
    I managed to score an old Selectric typewriter and dug about its insides, figuring out the mechanism.
    I built an interface so I could use it as a printer (although by the time it was working I was at uni and better computers were available - so it ended up gathering dust).
    Those typewriters were such an amazing piece of machinery.

  • H. L-A
    H. L-A Year ago +600

    I realise writing actual subtitles and not just relying on Google's auto thing probably takes a lot of time and I just want to say, once again; Thank you So much for yet another awesome video with actual subtitles! ♡ it truly makes a huge difference!

    • Nikapocalypse
      Nikapocalypse Year ago +60

      You *can* just slap your script in there, but getting timing right and all takes a good amount of effort. Kudos to him.

    • Pick of the Glitter
      Pick of the Glitter Year ago +20

      I agree, for us that learned english at school, subtitles are quite useful and often make the difference.

    • Infernity
      Infernity Year ago +55

      @Pick of the Glitter As a native English speaker, who has no hearing problems, they are so nice too!

    • Ryan Lynch
      Ryan Lynch Year ago +2


    • Herodotus Von 8428
      Herodotus Von 8428 Year ago +16

      [adorable ding]

  • Rick Biessman
    Rick Biessman 6 months ago

    The Selectronic is such a marvellous piece of engineering! I wish I had use for one.

  • Kate Wood
    Kate Wood 9 months ago +1

    I'm old enough that I had a fully electric Smith Corona typewriter in high school. It had the automatic correcting feature you demonstrated, which fascinated me too. It could auto correct a letter, a word, or even an entire line of text. And although it was an English typewriter, it had the feature you mentioned where you could hit a key so that the carriage wouldn't move, so you could apply accent marks or the like to letters. One thing I remember about the auto correct feature is just how hard the little "hammers" (that's what I called the type thingies) would hit the page, and yes, each one would hit multiple times in rapid succession. So hard that I had to get a different desk, because the original lightweight table I used as a desk would actually jump when the typewriter did its auto correct thing. Personal computers were a thing when I was in high school, but at that point they were still quite expensive. Like $1100-$1500 for a computer that would let you just do basic word processing, plus a printer to print everything out. And that was in the 1990s, so with inflation that's probably 2 to 3k in today's money. My family didn't have that kind of money, so the typewriter was a gift from my parents. I think it was about $250, so not super cheap, but nowhere near the expense of a computer. I took it to college with me, but the entire dorm hated it because it made so much noise. Then I found out my school would facilitate helping you take out an extra loan for a computer if you wanted one, so that's what I did. I think I ended up selling the typewriter at a garage sale.

  • biancat
    biancat Year ago +1

    PLEASE make more videos on typewriters and the trivia and history of them!! Absolutely fascinating stuff :D

  • Chuu Ni
    Chuu Ni 8 months ago +1

    Just wanted to say that daisy wheel typing doesn't have to be electronic. Daisy wheels were a common implementation for teleprinters, back when they were almost entirely mechanic (except for the receive magnet). There used to be one of those nice 1940s info reels on Clip-Share about how it worked in mechanical detail, but that seems to have disappeared since I last saw it.
    Never forget to download Clip-Share videos that might matter!

  • Last Name First Name

    this is indeed fascinating. didn't think this was possible at all in the way it actually works.

  • Dustin Kreidler
    Dustin Kreidler Year ago +246

    I would love both the concise "get to the point" version of these videos as well as the 5 hour long "lost in the sauce" versions as well. Both levels of immersion for these topics are ideal!

    • Chicago Typewriter
      Chicago Typewriter Year ago +11

      Oh I'd adore a 5 hour video about typewriters, their history, trivia and so much more! (And for other objects too!) We often don't realise the hidden stories & heritage in common (or once common) things, like watches for example!

    • Flying Unosaur
      Flying Unosaur Year ago +1

      I had to skip 98% of the vid (literally)

    • Daniel M. Reck
      Daniel M. Reck Year ago +1

      "Lost in the sauce" ... "immersion." I see what you did there.

  • s0nicfreak
    s0nicfreak Year ago +1

    These sounds take me back... I learned to type on a typewriter when I was a kid - or more accurately, taught myself to type, using a book. It blows my mind how I managed to learn anything like that, when nowadays whenever I need to learn something new, I look for a video 😄

  • Wemtiafi
    Wemtiafi 11 months ago

    I found an Underwood Champion (I believe it's from the 1930's) that works relatively well (some of the keys stick and the ribbon needs adjusting somehow, not sure how this works yet) and I've been SO excited to use it. I'm fairly certain it does not have the feature represented as the main topic here, but this video is teaching me things about my typewriter that I was honestly worried I'd never learn simply because I didn't know where to look for "typewriter manuals", and because the ones I did find were for much later models. I sincerely appreciate you for uploading this, I'm learning about my typewriter through referencing the points of the ones shown in the video, and I'm really intrigued by the different evolutions of these machines and the eventual electronic implementations. Thank you.
    Also, I too remember the days of carbon copies- that term hasn't crossed my mind in over 15 years, that was a blast from the past. I was fascinated by that as a kid. It was like "live copy/paste" at the lift of a page.

  • Zulk RS
    Zulk RS Year ago

    My grandpa had a really old type writer that I used to play with as a kid. It was probably antique by the time I was using it but I remember it being clunky and annoying to use but the sound it made when typing was really satisfying. I think it might have an influence on me liking the computer keyboards that are noisy and have thick keys instead of the thinner, compact ones many laptops come with.

  • Scootermom
    Scootermom 8 months ago

    I always thought typewriters used a whiteout-type of solution to correct mistakes. This was very fascinating! Thank you!

  • Animyos Fox
    Animyos Fox 4 months ago

    Very interesting video! Although I wasn't born early enough to have typewriters still regularly around, I still like to type on them to this day, and actually have both an old-style, mechanic one with a ribbon made out of cloth, and a newer, electric (electronic) one with correction tape contained inside the cartridge.
    And to answer your question; yes, I'd really like a video on more extensive typewriter trivia.

  • Robert McCullough
    Robert McCullough Year ago +504

    I'm old enough to remember using both a manual, Selectric, and Daisy Wheel printer. Did you know that there were some printers that used a daisy wheel. To make those daisy wheels last longer, the letters were actually metal. I have seen a daisy wheel printer throw a metal letter into the ceiling. This was a great walk back to memory lane.

    • ZGryphon
      ZGryphon Year ago +60

      I'll see your daisy wheel failure and raise you an exploding chain printer. Boy howdy, there was a _reason_ those things were enclosed in those armored housings. :)

    • LAM678
      LAM678 Year ago +3

      I'm fairly sure he has a video on a daisy wheel printer somewhere.

    • Linda Doune
      Linda Doune Year ago +14

      I remember back in the days where the impact printers (non-dot matrix, non-laser, non-heat transfer) printers were called Daisy Wheel printers. I changed many a Daisy Wheel in my time. They had the advantage of producing truly sharp text in the days when laser printers were not yet common. Some even, with electronics, allowed proportional fonts to be produced.

    • sauceLion
      sauceLion Year ago +8

      I'm old enough to remember when both meant there were only 2 things. Just being pedantic in the spirit of the channel😉

    • MrTBoneSF
      MrTBoneSF Year ago +16

      @ZGryphon How about a daisy wheel printer that sunk one of the major console makers? The Coleco Adam computer was meant to take the (at the time) #2 videogame console maker into dominating the home computer market for families and kids doing homework. Instead, its "game changing" integrated daisy wheel printer caused a near 100% return rate of their computers because the entire computer system's power supply was housed in the daisy wheel printer. So if the printer failed, the entire computer was useless. Coleco was on the brink of bankruptcy (forced to exit the console and computer market) and was only saved from total collapse by the revenue from the Cabbage Patch Kid craze- but even that was short-lived.

  • B B
    B B 9 months ago +3

    I love the sound of a bunch of typewriters in a room, people tapping away, and carriages being pushed back to the right.
    Reminds me of typing class in high school. Even though it was 2006, our teacher (who was like 65 at the time and always smelled of a freshly smoked cigarette ) found it very important for us to use a typewriter instead of a PC. We used models that had been in the school since the late 70s.
    I didn’t mind as I had used them before, but that was probably my strictest class with our posture being constantly corrected by the teacher, her constantly hovering over us to make sure we had our hands resting correctly on the keys, and often was graded by how many words per minute we’d put onto paper.
    Thank goodness our class was on the third floor all the way to the back end of the school, because it would get loud in there lol. I enjoyed it.
    Can’t say I’ve really used a typewriter all that much since, but I still find myself making sure my hands are positioned correctly and I sit upright when I am typing something out on my PC that is longer than a few sentences lol.

  • The Bob
    The Bob Year ago

    One really interesting thing about these typewriters is just how much of their features carried over sometimes correctly i remember when Word had this those little tabs specifically for the margin as well as many other features.

  • Erik Žiak
    Erik Žiak Year ago +1

    The Slovak mechanical typewriter did not have the "1" symbol and yes, we used lowercase "l" instead. Also, there were two colored typewriters with a thicker ribbon, divided horizontally, one part was red, other was black. I cannot remember which was top and which bottom.

  • Chronos Devlin Darak - KuraiNoOni

    It is really interesting, how certain control characters, specifically those for new lines, were named after the typewriter analogy - namely Carriage Return and Line Feed. While windows is looking for both of these characters in Textfiles, Unixoids are fine with just line feed.
    Great video. Now I know how Typewriters can undo typos and why adhesive tapes can destroy toner printed labels.

  • Spazz Dragon
    Spazz Dragon 8 months ago

    I am always amazed by the ingenuity of mechanical solutions to problems.

  • Jelmer L
    Jelmer L Year ago +144

    This was insanely interesting! To be honest, whenever you returned from a tangent I felt a little bit sad, I'd watch an hour of in-depth video on obsolete writing machines without a doubt!

  • Maximilian Hacker
    Maximilian Hacker 7 months ago

    Your fascinating explanation style is next to none. Its a joy to watch - even as a old fellow who grew up with that kind of machines - including the IBM analog / digital crossover typewriter. And yes, I also believed the IBM would simply type white letters over the black mistaken ones - because white correction cards with white vinyl, to be held by hand between the hammer and the paper, were common for standard typewriters. Oh, and I loved the white correction ink for painting rectangles on my school books to put my name on a state of the art background.
    By the way - in those days (around 1980) there was a small copier, that didn't use the Xerographic system (something with extremely high force drums maybe?), that let you choose parts of the original to be left out in multiple rectangular shapes (with a stylus on plastic on the lid) and choose from different colors like, black, white, red, blue, silver, gold to be put on paper or sticky tranparent foil or standard foil. Oh how much would i like to even have a clue by which company that was made.

  • Torque4Days
    Torque4Days 3 months ago

    Your videos answer the questions I have in life! I've wondered about this subject before but never at a convenient time that I could research it. Thanks!

  • Kevin Price
    Kevin Price 9 months ago +11

    I am an old long toothed retired technician. I have serviced the old type-arm versions, type-ball versions, as well as the daisy-wheel versions. Your video brought back many many memories, some not so fond,lol! In any case, that was mostly in the 70s. In the 80s I started working on the dedicated Word Processor machines such as Micom and Wang. As time progressed I worked on terminal systems, particularly in the large Canadian banking networks. Then into the 90s, my work was mainly on PCs. In the 2000s it evolved into high end networked PCs, tablets and smartphones. In my 40+ year career as an electronic technologist I witnessed the evolution of IT that today boggles my mind much more than the simple user. Moores Law is alive and well 😉

  • The True Nehme
    The True Nehme 8 months ago

    I feel like the staggered key arrangement actually helps a lot with my muscle memory for which row i'm typing on. -like how old blackberry phones helped me hit the right letter instead of accidentally mashing about 3 of them or the neighboring one with my fat thumb on a touch screen-
    I wish old PDA style phones still had a large enough niche, as fun and energy gluttonous as smart phones are, every once in a while i'd miss the simple things seeing them again in channels like this.

  • Breadley McThicc
    Breadley McThicc 4 months ago

    My original thought about how this worked was that it was using some sort of chemical reaction to "burn" off the letters. This was much more interesting, and a lot more simple, but also a lot more complicated than I thought.

  • Tim Pelgrim
    Tim Pelgrim Year ago +450

    I love this kind of deep dives into “every day” things. I look forward to your 2 hour long video essay on typewriters!

    • Mr Kitty 🔧
      Mr Kitty 🔧 Year ago +7

      Pretty sure he can make technology connection video about cat food dispenser 😃

    • David Roddini
      David Roddini Year ago +15

      I would love to see the full essay. I was surprised to learn the 1 and ! key wasn’t part of the original design!

    • LaZZe
      LaZZe Year ago

      @David Roddini I guess, I'm just not old enough, but I've never seen that before on any of the typewriters, I've used. Maybe I just didn't notice. I never used them that much.

    • Corey DeWalt
      Corey DeWalt Year ago

      Me too!

    • Mandi
      Mandi Year ago +3

      I still am appreciative about the sprinkler video. I always wondered how they did the turning action. I knew it had something to do with the weighted arm but never figured out the actual mechanics of it. But waiting for the more clickbaity channels to do a video on......sprinklers?!? Yeah...thats not going to happen. And yet TC delivered!

  • Jose Lapido
    Jose Lapido 7 months ago +1

    I remember my dad's secretary had one of the older type and she used small rectangular pieces of paper with white ink (manufactured for the purpose) to erase. Don't remember specifics but she would backtrack, place the white paper right where the key should strike and press the key. I may be only imagining this but I'm pretty sure it really was like that...

  • Liz Fischer
    Liz Fischer 11 months ago

    Would love futher videos in this area! This is super interesting. One thing I noticed that I didn't realize before is that the margin control sliders in Word are triangles because that's the shape of the sliders on the typewriter :)

  • Gloweye
    Gloweye 6 months ago

    For those that didn't know, the typewriter is the reason why on Windows systems, a line-ending is "carriage return" and "line feed", in sequence. The carriage return brings your cursor to the left, the line feed "feeds" the paper one line up. Some typewriters had that manually, but others had a special lever for that as well.

  • Sigrid
    Sigrid 5 months ago

    I completely forgot I used my Grandma's old type writer in my childhood to write short stories and type reports for school, to the point the thought probably hasn't crossed my mind for most of my adult life. But when he pulled out that old fashioned typewriter with the type bar, I could immediately smell it through my memories. The ink, the machine oil, the paper fiber from decades of use that never got cleaned, not to mention the carrying case that had been absorbing the fumes from it all for probably decades before I was even born. It had a distinctive smell to it.

  • Francis Cordon
    Francis Cordon 10 months ago

    I saw that feature when it came out and I couldn't believe it, truly - it was magic! Excellent job - thanks for this!

  • Jon Lewis
    Jon Lewis Year ago +767

    "The paper is (stationery)"
    Beautifully done, just the perfect amount of pause-and-look-into-the-camera afterwards.

    • TheSanvichMann
      TheSanvichMann Year ago +18

      as soon as i realised what had happened i had to rush down here to see if ANYONE had noticed!

    • Michael Moore
      Michael Moore Year ago +29

      I had to stop the video at the "remarkable" pun. 😀

    • Stu_1977_SEmelb
      Stu_1977_SEmelb Year ago +10

      Hah! I totally missed that... - and I work in a wholesale stationery business! 🤦‍♂

    • Clint Hobson
      Clint Hobson Year ago +12

      Ah! I missed that. This guy is good :)

    • Nancy Lindsay
      Nancy Lindsay Year ago +9

      The stationery is stationary.

  • Joe Arnold
    Joe Arnold Year ago

    I had one of those word processor / electronic typewriters he showed at the end, though I think just a bit more recent.
    I always thought that white tape was a whiteout ribbon and the four fast taps were making sure it fully covered the letter.
    I mean, that’s basically what it looked like, but it did actually work on colored paper and my eleven year old self in ‘93 didn’t notice.
    So weird to see a video about the clunky thing I hated writing my earliest school reports on (because we were too poor to get a pc for a few more years)

  • Bill Keith Channel
    Bill Keith Channel 11 months ago +1

    My very first typewriter as a child was a Remington Portable I bought at an Erie JayCees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) rummage sale fundraiser. I have a ton of stuff still that I used this for. I tried to write my own _Three Investigators_ novel and typed out the first chapter. I made my own copy of Monopoly since the family one was kept in my parent's bedroom and only brought out on the holidays. I still have the typewriter but the ribbon needs re-inked.

  • Pusheen Cat
    Pusheen Cat 11 months ago

    Fascinating. Thank you for this video. I am of the same era, where I am old enough to witness typewriters, but young enough to enjoy computers lol. I never knew that was how typewriters corrected things. I also assumed it was correction fluid.

  • TheGTP1995
    TheGTP1995 Year ago +1

    There was also a third erasing option for the "traditional" typewriters: there were white squares/rectangles that left a white mark when hit by a typing element. You had to go back and retype the same symbol while holding one of those between the tape and the sheet (or did this involved using the shift key somehow? I have a vague memory as I saw this as a child from my grandfather). Similar in principle to using a brush and the white paint, but leads to a much cleaner result.

  • nick
    nick 7 months ago

    I didn't think it possible for me to love a Selectric I, II or III any more, 'til viewing your most informative segment. As a long time fan, first time commentator, many thanks! -New York Nick

  • MrJest2
    MrJest2 Year ago +409

    Back in, oh, 1974 or so, my father - a life-long "IBMer" - used his employee discount to purchase a Selectric II for my mother. Mom is a genealogist, and consequently did a great deal of typing. On an old Smith-Corona, very similar to the one displayed as an example of an "old school manual" typewriter.
    I recall two things about this beast of a machine: First, it took some two years of monthly payments to pay it off, even with the discount - they were the equivalent of a couple grand in today's money - and second, it weighed about 50lbs. My mother used it for a couple decades, happily typing (and correcting) away on her hobby before my folks finally purchased their first PC and printer. At that point, I was offered the typewriter.
    I took it, because it was friggin' cool, built like a tank, and did things my own ink-jet could never do. And I lugged that thing around from apartment to apartment for another 20 years before finally giving it away because I was tired of dealing with a piece of tech I very rarely used. As far as I know, it's probably still banging away out there somewhere in the wild - these things, as I mentioned, were built like tanks and would run pretty much forever.
    Fun fact: There was an edge-connector buried inside, and with the right adapter you could control it with a computer for use as an excellent "impact printer".
    I kind of wish I'd never gotten rid of it, these days... but not too much. 😋

    • Ryan
      Ryan Year ago +24

      lol impact printer. I'd love to see how fast a computer could "type" with that thing

    • Manly_Gambino
      Manly_Gambino Year ago +5

      Thanks for sharing this

    • jama211
      jama211 Year ago +1

      Super cool!

    • Dick Holman
      Dick Holman Year ago +16

      @Ryan They were quicker than you might think, & very loud with it!

    • asystole
      asystole Year ago +3

      Great little story, thank you for sharing!

  • viru52000
    viru52000 Year ago +1

    Also of mention is that the QWERTY keyboard layout was to prevent the basket from jamming. Typing fast, you can have a second key coming up while the first one is going down, those "fingers" in the basket could jam if they weren't separated enough.

  • David Nabbit
    David Nabbit 4 months ago

    My family had one of those electronic typewriters. I vaguely remember using it to write some school papers before we got our first computer. We even used it for years after getting a computer to fill out forms.

  • Tree Lym
    Tree Lym 9 months ago +1

    It is fantastic to learn how this worked. I always thought it was a form of correction tape as well. My Grandmother has a very early typewriter. It had no marks on the keys. It was 'fun' to learn to type, oh and don't forget the mechanic nature of the basket made it easily jamded when typing to fast, like 20 words per minute.

  • Irked Particle
    Irked Particle Year ago

    This is absolutely fascinating, & I would love to see more about typewriters! Do a video with the rest of what you wrote, please! It's so dang interesting I just can't contain myself!
    I used the backspace key several times when typing this, & it kind of saddens me that there's no tape involved.

  • monomille1
    monomille1 Year ago +1

    Great episode! I remember a day I our Navy department office when the typist was having a hard time and we told her that in addition to the putting the ribbon cartridge in the safe at day’s end she should also put the correcting ribbon in with it. Strangely, she didn’t see the intended humor in the remark.

  • Sientir
    Sientir Year ago +129

    Fun programming fact: in ASCII, there are special non-type characters for both Carriage Return and New Line! This video has finally made it sink in why that is.
    Some character environments require both to be present for a newline, some use them interchangeably, and others only use the newline character. This can cause wonky spacing to happen if you take a text document from one environment into a different one, typically by either gaining an extra newline in between every line, or losing all of your newlines and having everything on a single line.

    • Sam Seiber
      Sam Seiber Year ago +11

      Carriage Return makes sense on the old Teletypes. It provide a way to return the head, then re-strike desired letters to make them darker. Or, if you couldn't stop the teletype from typing when entering a password, the location of the password on the paper could be over typed with a collection of characters to hide what what was entered. Thus, having new line (line feed as I remember it) makes sense. Move the paper one line, or not, your choice.

    • softy8088
      softy8088 Year ago +30

      Despite the cries of Linux and UNIX fans, the One True Way to make a newline is with CR and LF together. This is standardized by ISO/IEC 6429 aka ECMA-48. In this case Windows gets it right.

    • matroosoft
      matroosoft Year ago +14

      @softy8088 Also LF stands for Line Feed. This is the correct name, not New Line.

    • Canada Jones
      Canada Jones Year ago +4

      It was also used to allow slow TTYs to have time to return their carriages while line feeding before continuing output.

    • Photonic Pizza
      Photonic Pizza Year ago +17

      @softy8088 UTR 13 defines any of CR, LF, CRLF, NEL, LS and PS as a valid line end marker. Unicode is the standard pertinent today, the world doesn’t run on ASCII and ISO 6429 anymore. Windows, which outputs only CRLF without more specialised software, may have gotten it right 30 years ago, but it’s very wrong now.

  • CreaZyp!
    CreaZyp! 9 months ago +20

    8:40 This is still used today to make uppercase accented letters: You first type the accent [´] and then the letter [E] to make the accented letter [É] (for the lowercase there's usually a key for that but you can still do it like with the uppercase)

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro 7 months ago

      On more modern computer OSes we have the “compose” key. This lets us type multi-key mnemonics for all kinds of Unicode characters. For example, compose-lessthan-quote for an opening curly quote, like I did up there.

    • Księżniczka Katarzyna
      Księżniczka Katarzyna 7 months ago

      @Lawrence D’Oliveiro On the modern German keyboard, there is one key next to the backspace that has both ` and ´ on it. If you press it once, nothing shows up, but if you press a "valid" letter, it will print à, á etc. Same with ^ which is placed next to the 1 key. So you can get an â with it. It's quite interesting seeing how German does not have those accents (maybe besides a few French borrowed words that I'm not aware of). German characters: ä, ö, ü and ß, as well as uppercase Ä, Ö and Ü, all have separate keys (which is quite funny to me, a Polish native speaker who lives and works in Germany, since our characters don't have dedicated keys, possibly because there are just too many of them). Uppercase being created by using Shift+lowercase letter, of course (ß does not have an uppercase version and Shift+ß creates ? instead).

    • Lawrence D’Oliveiro
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro 7 months ago

      @Księżniczka Katarzyna I can type all that on a US keyboard (which is what we use in NZ), and more besides, all with the Compose key.

  • Shylesh Srinivasan

    Thanks so much for this video ! I have been left astounded by this mechanism ! You absolutely need to release a really deep video on typewriters

  • Yazz
    Yazz Year ago

    My mom learned to type on a machine with a correction feature. In typing class they had assignments where they had to type a page in a set amount of time with making max. 2 mistakes. (going forward in the class that would change to 0 mistakes eventually) In order to control that, they had not only to turn in the page they typed but also the correction tape, so the teacher could control if they made more mistakes. Fun times.

  • Oľga Píšová
    Oľga Píšová 10 months ago +2

    I adore these videos, they make the curious part of me absolutely happy!
    I haven't really used a typewriter much, at most for some retro vibes on a greeting card, but my mother owned two - one fully mechanical, in shiny red color. The force one had to use to type fast on that was a huge surprise for me. Then she had an electric one, this time normal US english layout. I don't remember any specifics about it, besides that it was a very basic model for its era.
    When I was a small child, I used to love the old manual one for the click-clack sound and passionately hated the electric one, because when it moved, it sounded worse than an old scanner (same noise, but louder!).
    I only know some of the old technologies thanks to local university and library, where the tech was usually not too fast to retire, meaning, during my childhood and early teens, I've seen needle printers for receipts (nowadays it's thermo), experienced sending documents via fax (awful quality!) and heard the tones of dial-up internet before it went extinct. Total contrast to what I'm used to since my early teens, in terms of computers, internet speed and data in general.

  • -p Catalano
    -p Catalano Year ago

    I can't believe it took me this long to find this particular video of yours. I've long been fascinated by typewriters, and also have a collection of them. Mine are all manual ones, though. Only a couple really work right, though.

  • Brian Irwin
    Brian Irwin Year ago +404

    I always liked the feeling of slinging that carriage across the machine to the next line. It was like a reward for the accomplishment of typing another line on the paper without a mistake! BTW I have lived 62 years in this world of technology and have seen a lot of changes but your videos always teach me something fascinating and new. You help fulfill my quest to be a cesspool or trivial information!

    • audvidgeek
      audvidgeek Year ago +13

      The same goes with slamming the handset down on an old Western Electric phone when a telemarketer calls. Hitting the "END" button on a smartphone just isn't gratifying enough!

    • Soup
      Soup Year ago +6

      @audvidgeek a similar thing was with cell phones - flip phones and sliders had their own ways to end a call expressively 😎

    • jaxtraw
      jaxtraw Year ago +9

      @audvidgeek Let's face it, modern tech just isn't physical enough is it?

    • Brian Arbenz
      Brian Arbenz Year ago +3

      You and I are Brians from the same mold. (I'm 63, and feel just as you do on this.) 👋

    • Victoria Line
      Victoria Line Year ago +1

      @Brian Arbenz: I'm 64 and my entire working life was spent at the keyboard. Back when I started work in 1975, typewriters were heavy mechanicals. The IBM "golf ball" was a game changer, but the real head spinner was the word processor. I can still remember my ex-employor's gradual introduction of Wang word processors, which at first was limited to one machine per department. Eventually every secretary had a machine on her desk, but it would be years before everybody had a computer.

  • Matt H
    Matt H Year ago

    Wow this took me back. Especially the Shift and ShiftLock part for some reason. Im not even that old, I was born in 1985, but I remember growing up playing with and typing on typrewriters. Probably at my Grandmother's house. She watched us after school a lot so I got to soak up a lot of that old people culture in the late 80s/early 90s 😊
    I also remember thinking that typewriters with the backspace feature were the newer "nicer" ones even though they were old news by the time I was alive.
    Your mention of actual carbon copies took me back too.
    Neat stuff.

  • PDNH
    PDNH 4 months ago

    Being able to read the used ribbon was the crucial plot point on an episode of the TV show "Columbo." It allowed the detective to prove who was the murderer and the machine was rigged to allow the audience to read the text easier than usual.

  • Paul Tibbals
    Paul Tibbals Year ago

    When I went to college in the early '90's I had yet to even see a word processor. My friends were surprised to see me doing all the prep work English teachers go on about, like making outlines, before starting a paper. They were stunned at how little editing my papers required before turning them in. When out of order paragraphs require retyping entire pages you really try to get it right the first time. To be fair, once I started using word processing software it felt like cheating. Cut and paste takes the place of a lot of thought and planning.

  • J F
    J F 8 months ago

    I enjoyed this video a lot. I grew up to witness and somewhat experience more or less the full range of typewriters, so this was a trip down memory lane. I am quite certain that on some models the carriage return lever was customisable to deliver single, one and a half, or double line spacing. And the fun didn't stop there. Some also had a number of customisable tabulator stops in addition to the margin settings, and of course a "TAB" key to send the carriage forward to the next stop.

  • robcat2075
    robcat2075 8 months ago

    The most egregious aspect of the old mechanical typewriter output was that periods were often punched through the paper. When I was a boy, typists were cautioned to type periods and commas lightly to avoid that.

  • John H
    John H Year ago +269

    The VERY SUBTLE pun at 11:33 was amazing. “In this typewriter, the paper is stationary(/stationery)”. Very well done!! You’ve had my bell notification for a good while now and you don’t dissapoint!

    • John H
      John H Year ago +66

      Okay also at 17:05 a corrective typewriter that can liftoff polymer film text and type something else being “remarkable” was also a 10/10 pun! Kudos to you my fellow midwesterner!

    • Shalabh Mehta
      Shalabh Mehta Year ago +10

      @John H Both cases are examples when JOKE is just one word.

    • Dan
      Dan Year ago +8

      A lot of lines got punched in this video :p

    • Mickey Nott
      Mickey Nott Year ago

      the pause was amazing

  • Arkane Stephanie
    Arkane Stephanie 3 months ago

    Very interesting seeing where stuff originally came from. I never knew it was called shift because it literally shifted the part in the typewriter. Or literal caps lock. Technology is fascinating

  • John Pekkala
    John Pekkala 9 months ago +1

    The QUERTY layout is also, like the staggered keys from the typewriter era. This layout of keys prevented the type arms from jamming together when typing quickly. As we got so used to this layout it became the de facto standard (other layouts like DVORAK are avaible but not at all common) and thus, like the staggered keys still hangs on with modern day computer keyboards.