When I was nine years of age, I would spend hours chicken-pecking out a story on my mother’s electric typewriter, which we kept in the basement. The key for the letter L didn’t work properly, so sometimes when I was typing away it would jam and stick. What would follow would be the hideous, repetitive clacking of a single letter, which would soon fill the entire page with L’s. There was no way to turn it off, save for unplugging the machine. Thus, my story would be ruined.
Later, when my parents divorced and we moved, I’d found an old Remington typewriter tucked behind the piping in the storage space of our new house. It looked like it was falling apart, but I kept it and stored it away, where it continues to collect dust to this day. In the wake of digital technology, I suppose typewriters have become an afterthought. But Richard Polt’s The Typewriter Revolution reacquaints me with the romance of these simple but extraordinary machines.