Backed by the Typewriter Clicks: People and Events

25 Apr–17 Oct 2018All exhibitions

... I don’t tend to think that the technique of writing improves or worsens the result of it, but I'm sure that what we write is changed by how and on what we do it.

Alexander Genis

The exhibition will tell you about the owners of the typewriters which were donated to the Museum in different time periods, about the fates of outstanding people, including the participants of 1917 revolution: G. F. Fedorov, G. A. Sinilov, N. E. Burenin. There are also the typewriters that used to belong to G. M. Krzyżanowski (who made a great contribution in the building of the Soviet power system); the famed intelligence officer A. S. Feklisov; the prominent scholar D. S. Likhachev and the renowned historian V. I. Startsev; V. I. Sytinsky, a samizdat activist, M. V. Naumenko, a rock musician, and the editor of the first USSR’s underground rock magazine A. V. Startsev.

Since the beginning of civilization people have tried to store the data of their history, record it, and, certainly reproduce these texts. The writing technique born from the cave art, clay plaques, and birchbark later developed to typewriters and printing presses with movable type, and subsequently to personal computers. The invention of the typewriter had a profound impact on the history of both mechanics and culture.

There were two types of typewriters, depending on the design. Straight manual typewriters, in which the type bars are raised and strike the paper with a downward stroke of the key were more common. The devices of the second kind, i.e. the so-called type-bar-free typewriters featured a type cylinder instead of type-bars.

The late 19th century saw the emergence of the typewriter, which accounted for significant changes in many areas of human activity, raising culture to a higher level. The speed and quality of paperwork increased by many times. The invention of the typewriter spared plenty of time that used to be spent on commercial correspondence and preparing other business documents requiring particular clarity. Instead of applying calligraphy skills it was now enough just to hit the proper key.

The emergence of the typewriter accounted for radical changes in the Office work and resulted in the emergence of a new job, a typist, which provided women a socially acceptable occupation. The typewriter became a powerful tool of emancipation, enabling millions of women to join the business world which had used to be exclusively the man’s domain. In many languages, inter alia Russian, the word for typist does not have a masculine form.

The typewriter used to be considered the main working tool of writers, philosophers, and journalists for decades. There were special-purpose devices designed for verbatim, bookkeeping, writing formulas, as well as typewriters for visually impaired users. Typewriter owners included revolutionaries and terrorists, the Communist party functionaries and state dignitaries, prominent scientists and persons in artistic and cultural occupations. The typewriter as an individual possession used to be not only a witness of the most important moments in the life of its owner, but also a participant of significant events of the country’s history.

In the USSR, the typewriter was vital as a tool to enable reproduction and distribution of texts that were too few or banned by censorship. Circulation was samizdat [underground self-publishing] makers’ priority. So, several sheets of plain paper (the thinner the better, maybe even flimsy), with carbon copy paper sheets in between were inserted into the typewriter. To combat such techniques a sample of characters was taken from each device, i. e. some text was typed and a copy was submitted to the 1st (special) unit or to the appropriate division of the local MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) department. 

Today, the typewriter is a thing of the past, replaced by PCs and cellphones. The keyboard is the only part of the typewriter that has survived. There are rubber, membrane, mechanical types, touch input on a cellphone. And now voice input of the text is available. The last typewriter factory located in India, was closed in April 2011. Thus, the typewriter age was officially finished.


Публикация от: 04.04.2018 12:54:06