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I’ve seen those really funny YouTube clips where they show modern teenagers old gadgets like Sony Walkmans and record their appalled reactions. Well, our three boys are slightly different. A while back I bought a couple of typewriters from a jumble sale. They’ve been cluttering the place up because I bought them with a view to converting them into USB keyboards, but they’re not quite old enough and would be a bit tricky. Instead, I bought new ribbons from Ebay and forgot about them. (There are several clues here as to why our house is so untidy!)

Anyway, over the weekend, Middlest stepped up his nagging about the typewriters. For some reason, he’s been fascinated with them. Finally, I gave in and suggested he brought them downstairs so we could look up their model numbers and see if ribbons were still available. When we opened the cases (they are “portable” models) I found that I’d already bought them, so all three boys fell upon them. Youngest just seemed to like hitting the keys and the noise and sensation of it. Middlest wrote an entire short story, and Eldest wrote lists of what songs he likes, and other stuff.

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I think the appeal was freedom of expression. Previously, you had to log on to computer, fire up Word, battle with the spell-checker, figure out where to save it and try to make the printer work. Now you can grab any scrap of paper, feed it in and start typing and see your results instantly. There’s a special magic as you can see the hammers fly and understand how it works. Eldest was particularly happy when he realised that the letters were raised and just press through the inky ribbon onto the paper. Middlest loved the fact that the shift key actually, physically shifted the entire set of letters. And there was the added joy of discovering why they’re called lower and UPPER case!

I must admit I was tempted to type poetry as the look of the type is totally unlike anything else and would make a nice presentation piece!

Do your children like old tech? What do they do that surprises you?

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