End of an era of typewriters – Is it right?!
The 1970s and early 1980s were a time of transition for typewriters and word processors. At one point in time, most small-business offices would be completely old-style, while large corporations and government departments would already be all new-style; other offices would have a mixture. The pace of change was so rapid that it was common for clerical staff to have to learn several new systems, one after the other, in just a few years. While such rapid change is commonplace today, and is taken for granted, this was not always so; in fact, typewriting technology changed very little in its first 80 or 90 years.
Due to falling sales, IBM sold its typewriter division in 1990 to Lexmark, completely exiting from a market it once dominated.
The increasing dominance of personal computers, desktop publishing, the introduction of low-cost, truly high-quality, laser and inkjet printer technologies, and the pervasive use of web publishing, e-mail and other electronic communication techniques have largely replaced typewriters in the United States. Still, as of 2009, typewriters continued to be used by a number of government agencies and other institutions in the USA, where they are primarily used to fill preprinted forms. According to a Boston typewriter repairman quoted by The Boston Globe, "Every maternity ward has a typewriter, as well as funeral homes". A fairly major typewriter user is the City of New York, which in 2008 purchased several thousands typewriters, mostly for use by the New York Police Department, at the total cost of $982,269. Another $99,570 was spent in 2009 for the maintenance of the existing typewriters. New York police officers would use the machines to type property and evidence vouchers on carbon paper forms.
A rather specialized market for typewriters exists due to the regulations of many correctional systems in the USA, where prisoners are prohibited to have computers or telecommunication equipment, but are allowed to own typewriters. The Swintec corporation (headquartered in Moonachie, New Jersey), which, as of 2011, still produced typewriters at its overseas factories (in Japan, Indonesia, and/or Malaysia), manufactures a variety of typewriters for use in prisons, made of clear plastic (to make it harder for prisoners to hide prohibited items inside it). As of 2011, the company had contracts with prisons in 43 US states.
In April 2011, Godrej and Boyce, a Mumbai-based manufacturer of mechanical typewriters, closed its doors, leading to a flurry of erroneous news reports that the "world's last typewriter factory" had shut down. The reports were quickly debunked.
In November 2012, Brother's UK factory manufactured what it claimed to be the last typewriter ever made in the UK; the typewriter was donated to the London Science Museum.
Russian typewriters use Cyrillic, which has made the ongoing Azerbaijani reconversion from Cyrillic to Roman alphabet more difficult. In 1997, the government of Turkey offered to donate western typewriters to the Republic of Azerbaijan in exchange for more zealous and exclusive promotion of the Roman alphabet for the Azerbaijani language; this offer, however, was declined.
In Latin America and Africa, mechanical typewriters are still common because they can be used without electrical power. In Latin America, the typewriters used are most often Brazilian models – Brazil continues to produce mechanical (Facit) and electronic (Olivetti) typewriters to the present day
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