Monday, October 20, 2008

Portables With No Batteries

Long before you could use computers anywhere there were wireless “hot spots,” there were typewriters you could carry with you with ease and use anywhere.

They were called, appropriately, portables. Small, relatively light, easy to carry around; the ideal writing instrument for people who needed a typewriter, but not one of those monster Royals or Underwoods you found in newsrooms or offices. Can you imagine lugging one of those onto a train or bus?

Compact was the word; miniaturization hit them long before there were transistor radios, desktop computers or anything else that could be made smaller. They were also remarkably sturdy: you could drop it off the roof of your house and the only repairs would be to your yard.

The touch was, well, different. I always prided myself on being able to use portable, desk, and computer keyboards. It was something akin to being able to drive a stick-shift truck, a stick car and an automatic transmission.

The striking keys themselves would stick together more than on a desk model, as they were so close, so you had to be careful that your fingers were not on two letters at once, as well as not typing faster than the machine could handle.

They were the laptops of the time, but their time is now gone.


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