Yes, I miss the sound of each letter impacting a worn platen and the satisfying click of the perfect little circular key as it’s tapped.
On my first day of typing class, we were introduced to motley rows of used manuals and seated in alpha order. The typewriter keys had been replaced with black faces to ensure we memorized the qwerty order. A schematic mounted at the front of the room – like maps in geography class. was the sole guide to key order. The instructor, having written brief text exercises on the board, would snap the guide down for her determined allotment of memorization and then roll it up again and set a practice timer. Each click that proved successful was a victory. One learned quickly.
Flat key boards may have improved my speed and the convenience of early portable laptops was a marvel, but these advances lack the visceral satisfaction of tossing back the carriage with a quick wrist, pounding serioiusly away on those silver-edged discs, or triumphantly wrestling with a nest of tangled key arms when fingers flew faster than a machine could manage. Those workhorses are now dissected – jewelry of key faces being a hot item – and their bones scrapped. Rather a sad end for faithful technology that required only care and a new ribbon.
There are those who collect these relics and I hope to eventually reclaim a manual similar to my first. Just for the fun of it!