Typewriters are mechanical machines that do the same thing as keyboards do. They put words on paper. However, typewriters don’t have a computer where you can see your work before you print. Typewriters just print the ink on a piece of paper on a bar, called the carriage. If you make a mistake, you have to go back with the backspace key and put an “X” on the mistake. If you want to go to the next line, or do a carriage return, you have to press the carriage lever on the left side of the carriage and push the carriage to the right to keep typing. Typing is hard, though. You have to hit the keys to make the bar hit the paper. Typewriters have different keyboards depending on what country they’re from. In the USA, we always use the “QWERTY” keyboard, or a “QWERTY” typewriter. Back then, sometimes we imported typewriters form other countries, like Germany. The German keyboard is “QWERTZ.” The “Y” and “Z” are switched because “Z” is used more often than “Y” in German. Because of that, if you’re buying a typewriter, make sure it says “QWERTY.” Now for a word from Ms. Pruett! “Typewriters make cool noises, like, whack whack whack whack whack ding! Whack whack whack whack whack ding!” When the bell dings, that means you have to go to the next line. Ma. Pruett loves typewriters because they’re fascinating old machines that are interesting to use. They seem like they never run out of ink, but they do. Inside the typewriter are two rolls of ink that hit the paper in the shape of the letter that hit them. The ink keeps getting used up and eventually you’ll need new ink rolls. We can’t wait to see Ms. Pruett’s typewriter on Friday, December 20th.
Ok, now it’s Friday, December 20th. Everyone is lining up to try Ms, Pruett’s typewriter. Everyone had a chance to try it. It’s very old, it’s from 1936! It’s 77 years old! Ms. Pruett got the typewriter at Cambridge Typewriter in Arlington, near Boston. Each time a key is pressed, a stick, molded with the letter, hits the paper hitting the ink roll at the same time, printing the letter on the paper. If you type too fast, though, the key sticks get stuck and you have go make them go back by pulling them back. The harder you hit the keys, the darker the print is. The lighter you press the keys, the lighter the print is. If you want to go up a few paragraphs, you have to twist the thing that rolls the paper back up to where you want to go. People back then must have been expert typewriter typists!