The USB Typewriter by Jack Zylkin

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Injecting modernity into a technology nearing extinction and satisfying die-hard fans of the old fashioned manual typewriter, the USB Typewriter has been developed to offer vintage typing mechanisms as alternative keyboards for desktop computers, laptops, android tablets and iPads. WGSN-homebuildlife speaks to creator Jack Zylkin.

Taking old typewriters and and making them fit with modern technology is a specialist day job. Zylkin says of his inspiration, "Typewriters are really beautiful pieces of technology. They perform very simply and elegantly, despite having wonderfully intricate systems of gears and springs inside. Aesthetically they blow anything made today out of the water - these typewriters are almost 100 years old and still work and look good. No offense to Apple, but I guarantee no one will be handing down their iPhones from generation to generation for the next 100 years."

Why are consumers looking back to old school typing in an era of super light tablets and mobile phones? "I think it was assumed in the 1990s that computers were a huge step up from typewriters, and should rightfully replace them. Typewriters got unfairly associated with a kind of old-fashioned drudgery. Now they are starting to have a comeback; there is a whole generation of people leaving college who have never touched a typewriter, and therefore have a real fascination with this forgotten technology."

Zylkin believes that this reconciliation of analogue with digital creates a unique experience that combines the best of both worlds. As a fully functioning typewriter that prints directly onto paper, as well as being compatible with modern devices, the product offers even more options, he says: "With a USB Typewriter on your desk, you can type a letter to a friend, then afterwards decide whether to post it, or email it. You can turn off your monitor and enjoy the psychic serenity of typing directly onto paper, but then still enjoy the convenience of being able to save, edit, format, and print out your work on the computer later."

To read more on retro-inspired modern technology, WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can access Retro-Tech: Analogue-inspired gadgets.