In March this year I asked whether anyone knew where a mechanical typewriter fitted up to produce Greek characters might be found. As might be expected, the answers suggested that they were few and far between.
Godrej and Boyce – the last company left in the world that was still manufacturing typewriters – has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India with just a few hundred machines left in stock.
Although typewriters became obsolete years ago in the west, they were still common in India – until recently. Demand for the machines has sunk in the last ten years as consumers switch to computers.
The company’s general manager, Milind Dukle, told India’s Business Standard newspaper: ‘We are not getting many orders now. … ‘Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year. …
The company is now down to its last 200 machines – the majority of which are Arabic language models.
The firm began production in the 1950s – when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru described the typewriter as a symbol of India’s emerging independence and industrialisation. It was still selling 50,000 models annually in the early 1990s, but last year it sold less than 800 machines.
Treasure your typewriter. It will not be easy to replace.