Communication then and now: “you’ve come a long way baby…”

This post got started when a blog friend that I follow on The Simple Life of a Countryman’s Wife wrote about receiving a vintage, Brother, manual typewriter from her Mother-in-Law.  Reading her post, that was written using the typewriter, caused me to remember when I learned to type on this!

This baby was introduced on July 31, 1961 and turned 50 this year!  No one uses them anymore, but do click the picture for photo credit and more about the IBM Selectric.

Now, calling something from the 60s and 70s vintage just boggles my mind, but in the realm of communications the typewriter has “…come a long way baby…”

Of course, written communication is nothing new.  Humans were recording their thoughts and history on cave walls, some say, as far back as 32,000 years.  The Lascaux cave paintings discovered in 1940 are perhaps the most well-known of these.

(Please click for more photos and for credit)

You simply must go to the Lascaux site and see this interactive display: the Lascaux virtual tour

From painted murals for communication we then went to writing on clay tablets and stone.

(Click the photograph to link to the photo’s source.)

Remember the very famous Rosetta Stone?

Later, it was on to scrolls made of hides and papyrus, and of course, all handwritten!  I do not think I would have enjoyed the life of a scribe, too exacting… but then in those days the job of scribe was a male dominated position!

(Click the photograph to link to the photo’s source.)

Dead Sea Scrolls

The invention of paper led to the creation of books.  All were hand-made and very time-consuming to produce, and that led to the printing press by Gutenberg in 1440.  This was a vast improvement and cut production costs.   However, the most important thing about this invention was that it brought books, most notably the Bible, to the masses.

Now of course, by this time we were communicating via letter, but it was still a slow process.

Fast forward to the typewriter…

The first typewriter was invented in 1864.   It is made of wood! 

Please click the photo to follow the a link to the Peter Mitterhoffer Typewriter Museum, and there you will find a timeline on the invention typewriters!  Very interesting I promise!

I won’t go into all the details of the typewriter’s evolution as Mr. Mitterhoffer’s museum site does a fine job of that.  However I would like to share a little Youtube video about the IBM Selectric.  When these hit the typing lab at Claremont High we all thought it was a revolution in typing, and it turns out we were right!  It was the revolution that led to word processing!

Ah… that sound…  It was thrilling in its day.

So today, unlike the Countryman’s Wife  who enjoyed writing to us on her manual typewriter, I write to you on my new computer that Bob built for me.  It is a wonder of modern technology, and beats heck out of my old laptop that was being held together with a rather large binder clip.  😉  It’s fast, sleek, and imagine, it has replaced all the functions of the aforementioned forms of communication!

What will tomorrow bring us?

A special Thank you to the Countryman’s Wife for inspiring today’s post