What are the advantages of a typewriter

Typewriter: Test & Recommendations (05/21)

Typewriters still have a permanent place on countless desks today. The typewriter has even experienced its renaissance in recent years. The nostalgically glamorous and proven writing implements are ideal for indulging in the pure magic of writing. Without the distraction of incoming e-mails or the tempting expanse of the Internet. Typewriters are also unbeatably reliable. Many well-known authors prudently prefer to work on their typewriters, the place where a variety of great texts and books are created.

With this detailed typewriter test 2021, we would like to make it easier for you to decide on the right typewriter. We have therefore carefully listed the advantages and disadvantages of the different devices and compared a wide variety of models. This should make the purchase decision as easy as possible for you.

the essentials in brief

  • Typewriters are proven classics among writing implements and allow you to write without distraction and in a data-safe manner.
  • A basic distinction is made between mechanical, electrical and electronic typewriters.
  • Mechanical machines score with a nostalgic look and the classic clacking of the keys, while their more technically experienced successors come up with functions such as correction memories and formatting options.

Typewriter test: The editors' favorites

The best electronic typewriter

The T 180 DS Plus has a correction memory of one line / 90 characters, the option of bold print, as well as the option of centered, left-justified or right-justified text alignment. The keyboard also contains modern special characters. Due to the wide range of functions, the price is in the higher price segment. The device has a display and a memory for form letters.

This electronic typewriter is ideal for you if you want to type a lot and often on the typewriter and correction and formatting options are important to you.

The best portable typewriter

The Brother AX 310 impresses with its comparatively low weight and is a reliable and easy-to-use device. The machine has a single-line correction memory and numerous formatting options such as bold type, underlining and text alignment.

Since this model is mostly available used, it is in the middle price segment and is therefore an affordable companion with many great functions.

The best nostalgic typewriter

The WE R Memory Keepers typecast typewriter is aimed at vintage fans of the seventies with its enchanting look. The model is suitable for a medium to small budget and is quite affordable. The included ribbon enables a typeface in black or red color.
If nostalgia, charm and typing feel are in the foreground for you, this mechanical typewriter is the best choice for you. The device even has the authentic sound of resetting the paper.

Buying Guide: Questions to Consider Before Buying a Typewriter

What is a typewriter?

A typewriter is used to put printed letters on paper. This is done by pressing keys, similar to our usual keyboard. The letters or characters are then printed on the clamped paper by means of a ribbon.

The first working typewriters were developed at the beginning of the 19th century and had their heyday in the middle of the 20th century. With the invention of the computer, useful devices were displaced from the late 1980s.

If you are interested in the history and development of the typewriter, an expert will explain the various development steps on the way to today's typewriter in this video.

What are the benefits of using a typewriter?

Typewriters have experienced their own renaissance in recent years. Mainly for reasons of data protection, the typewriter was able to re-establish itself on the market. In fact, typewriters have clear advantages over computers or laptops, which we have summarized in the following section.
  • Less distraction
  • Writing feeling
  • Data security
  • Simplified filling out of forms
  1. Less distraction: A big plus of the typewriter is that it is far less distracting from the Internet. Incoming emails or the temptation of social media pages arouse curiosity while typing on the typewriter less easily and enable concentrated work.
  2. Typing feel: Typewriters exude a certain “charm” and evoke feelings of nostalgia. The typewriter has a clear advantage over the computer with the uniquely exhilarating typing experience and the ability to see your results directly on paper.
  3. Data security: Since typewriters are not connected to the Internet, your texts can in any case only be read by people who have access to your papers. The use of typewriters therefore offers guaranteed protection of your data.
  4. Fill out forms: If you want to fill out a form in printed type, this is particularly easy with a typewriter. The paper can easily be brought into the correct position and filled out legibly.

Where can I buy a typewriter?

Modern typewriters can be bought in office shops or in mail order offices. You can find older, nostalgic models at flea markets, in second-hand or antique shops and of course online on ebay or amazon.

Which typewriter manufacturers are particularly recommended?

From their invention to their heyday before the invention of the computer, some manufacturers were able to position themselves successfully on the market and are still in demand today. Some of them are briefly presented below.
The first patent was filed by Henry Mill in 1714.
  • Triumph Adler: The German company Triumph Adler made a particularly good name for itself. It ended its own production in 1998. The Bandermann company is now selling two models in German mail-order office supplies.
  • Brother: Brother Industries is a global company with headquarters in Japan and further locations in Germany and Austria. Today the company is best known for its sewing machines.
  • Remington: The Remington typewriters were the first series-produced typewriters and first came on the market in 1874. A famous user of the Remington was the author Mark Twain.
  • Underwood: The Underwood typewriters became known with the invention of being able to correct what was written immediately. These models were also the first to incorporate the special character @ on the keyboard. Underwood was taken over by Olivetti in 1963. The last machine under the name Underwood was produced in the mid-eighties.
  • Olivetti: Olivetti is an Italian manufacturer with a focus on the manufacture of portable portable typewriters. Production stopped in 1994. Olivetti models are therefore only available second-hand in any case.
  • Olympia: The Olympia Werke was based in Germany and was closed in 1991. The company still sells typewriters under the brand name that still exists today. Well-known users are the writer Paul Auster and Woody Allen.

What does a typewriter cost?

The cost of a typewriter depends entirely on the model. You can buy used devices in second-hand shops or online shops for as little as a few euros. For new, electronic typewriters, the costs range from around € 200 to € 1,000, depending on the functions.

For both used and new typewriters, there are no upper limits.

What are the alternatives to a typewriter?

  • Modern computer: The most obvious alternative to the typewriter is a computer or laptop. The computer dominates the market primarily due to its light weight, easy handling and diverse functions.
  • Writing computer: Distraction-free writing is also made possible by special writing computers that are not distracting from the Internet, but have cloud storage. These combine a mechanical keyboard with a display.
  • Keyboard: If you are primarily concerned with the typing experience, you can use keyboards for your PC that are astonishingly similar to the tried and tested typewriter keys.
  • Font: If the typeface is in the foreground, the Word font “Courier” is particularly suitable.

Decision: What types of typewriters are there and which one is right for you?

When looking to buy a typewriter, there are primarily three options to choose from.

  • Mechanical typewriters
  • Electric typewriters
  • Electronic typewriters

Depending on why you want to use a typewriter and which functions are important to you, it decides which typewriter is the right one.

Type priority
Mechanical typewriter Nostalgia + typing feeling
Electric typewriter Simple keystroke + even typeface
Electronic typewriter Formatting option + correction memory

The following part introduces the three variants and should help you with your decision.

What distinguishes a mechanical typewriter and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Do you focus on nostalgia and typing feel? Do you want to work independently of a power source and your budget is not too big? Then you are best advised to use a mechanical typewriter.

With mechanical typewriters, the typeface is created as follows: Tapping the key sets a type lever in motion, causing the letter type to hit a ribbon, which is then printed on the paper underneath.

Mechanical typewriters are no longer produced and can therefore be bought second-hand.

Make sure that ribbons can still be purchased for your chosen model. The weight of these devices is also still relatively high. If you want to take the typewriter with you on trips, pay attention to the weight of the machine when buying it.

  • Cheap price
  • Nostalgic look
  • Typing feel
  • Independent of a power source
  • High weight
  • Accessories may no longer be available
  • Limited formatting options
  • No memory

What distinguishes an electric typewriter and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

If ease of use, easy typing and a consistent typeface are your priorities, it is best to opt for an electric typewriter.

Electric typewriters also work with a ribbon or carbon ribbon. However, it is not finger pressure that sets the type in motion, but an electromechanical process. The pressure is usually generated via a ball head or a type wheel.

Electric typewriters offer a smoother typeface than their mechanical predecessors and require less effort.

Before you buy, make sure that color and correction ribbons are still available for your model.

  • Easy to use
  • Uniform typeface
  • Little effort required
  • Accessories may no longer be available
  • Depending on a power source
  • Limited formatting options
  • No memory

What distinguishes an electronic typewriter and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Do you value modern functions without distractions? Are layout and simple corrections important to you? Then an electronic typewriter is ideal for you.

Electronic typewriters are already small typing computers and offer a wide range of formatting options.

The formatting options of electronic typewriters include functions such as text alignment, bold and italics, correction memories and modern special characters such as @ or €.

Electronic typewriters often have a steep price, but they usually come with a guarantee when they are new. When choosing the model, also pay attention to the cost of the accessories.

  • Diverse formatting options
  • Correction memory
  • High price
  • Depending on a power source

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and rate typewriters

Now we would like to show you criteria with which you can orient yourself between the different models of typewriters and decide on the right one.

In the following paragraphs we will explain to you what is important when it comes to the individual criteria.

price

In addition to considering what you want to use the typewriter for, your budget will also play an important role in your decision.

Type Price segment
Mechanical typewriter Low
Electric typewriter Low - medium
Electronic typewriter Medium high

Mechanical typewriters are particularly suitable for a small budget. These are only used and often very cheap to get. Depending on the model, electric typewriters are in the middle of the field. Electronic typewriters top the price list and, depending on the model, already cost several hundred euros.

Exceptions prove the rule. With all three types of typewriters, rare, valuable models can fetch high prices on the market.

Weight

While electronic typewriters are often easily transportable devices, you will probably not be able to take a mechanical typewriter with you to the library or on vacation. Before buying, think carefully about what you want to use the machine for.

Typing feel

Electric and electronic typewriters in particular offer you a light and pleasant typing experience. Here, the typeface is no longer created just by finger pressure and you will be able to easily produce several pages of text.

Often, however, other functions are in the foreground when buying a typewriter. If you are primarily concerned with the typical clicking of the keys, if you only want to write occasionally or a little, or if the typewriter is used for decoration, a mechanical typewriter is most likely to offer the typing experience you are looking for.

Possibility of correction

Mechanical or electrical typewriters often offer erasing tapes of white color in addition to color or carbon tape. Before buying, check whether erasing tapes are still available for your chosen model.

Electronic typewriters mostly already have a proofreading memory. This enables the last written line to be corrected before it is finally printed.

Formatting option

Modern electronic typewriters allow the choice of the font, offer the option of bold or italic printing or the alignment of the text in left-justified, right-justified or justified.

If these functions are important to you, an electronic typewriter is the only option and you should pay attention to which functions the different models offer.

Need for power supply

If you want to work independently of a power source, a mechanical typewriter is best for you.

Trivia: Facts worth knowing about the topic of typewriters

How do you care for a typewriter?

A typewriter should always be covered with a dust cover.

Typewriters require little to no oil. Should it be necessary, this must not get into the segments under any circumstances. (This is where the type levers are attached.) Bicycle oil or Ballistol have proven their worth.

Where can I buy a new ink or erasure tape?

New colored or erasing tapes are available in well-stocked office supply stores. Also in online trading, for example on ebay or amazon.

Most models require 13mm wide straps.

How do I learn to write on the typewriter?

The 10-finger system is also best suited for typing on the typewriter. There are many tutorials and practical programs available on the Internet for learning the system. For example here: https://www.tippenakademie.de

In addition, you learn particularly well with your typewriter because you feel the keystrokes much more intensely.

To help you get started, the following video shows you exactly how to clamp the paper, control the line spacing and where the caps lock key is.

Further reading: sources and interesting links

[1] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schreibmaschine

[2] https://www.typewriters.ch/blog/

[3] https://www.sn.at/panorama/international/ein-bisschen-verstaubt-und-doch-nicht-von-gestern-die-schreibmaschine-ist-150-jahre-alt-29309251

Image source: Belchonock / 123rf.com

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