Friday, December 13, 2013
Remarkable Modern Machine
While watching an old episode of "Columbo" on TV the other night, Larry and I got a kick out of the importance of an electric typewriter in the solution of the murder mystery. The police sergeant helping Lieutenant Columbo waxed eloquently and effusively about a "remarkable, modern machine," a "beautiful" piece of technology that had revolutionized how business was being done: the electric typewriter. The sergeant quickly typed a sentence, explaining how the moving typewriter carriage had been replaced by a ball imprinted with the letters of the alphabet that revolved and the messy experience of replacing the typewriter's ribbon had been made easy by a disposable cartridge filled with plastic ribbon. I learned how to type on a manual typewriter in high school. There were a few electric typewriters in the room, as well, but we all had to take turns using the more modern machines. In my early public relations days, I used an electric typewriter with the very same "modern" features that the TV police sergeant bragged about. Now, as I type on my laptop, no font ball or plastic ribbon cartridge in sight, it's hard to believe how technology has changed in my lifetime and career. There was something almost endearing about that episode of "Columbo," when high-tech meant that you no longer had to have ribbon ink all over your fingers.