1960's · nostalgia · Typewriters · Typing · Uncategorized

The Touch Typist -learning to touch type on a typewriter

typing classroom form IV Com 1950's

In the UK at the moment there are a lot of people with a little time on their hands due to the dreaded virus. I was just thinking about how I used to watch my children ‘typing’ on their laptops and thinking how painful and slow it looked. I did suggest that learning to type as I had done would make life a lot easier but, of course, it fell on death ears! I have no idea why I had wanted a typewriter when I was eight years old, it was more of a girl’s thing back in the sixties although they did make toy typewriters for boys too, one was even finished in camouflage. I was given a lightweight portable typewriter by an Aunt together with a book on learning to type and told to get on with it. After a few weeks I was reasonably proficient and within a few months I was really quite quick. If I could do it at age eight by myself then surely just about anyone can manage it. Just do it for the odd hour or so every day or two and you will soon get the hang of it. When I started a commercial course at school then typing and shorthand was part of the course even though I never did think it would be any use when I started work. I was fourteen then and I don’t think any of the girls could type when they started but they all ended up as very proficient shorthand typists. I did end up using both shorthand and typing at the various jobs I had and the accountancy that I learned turned out to be rather less useful. At school my shorthand mistress said that boys could type faster than girls but the girls were far faster than the boys writing shorthand. I always thought that a bit odd but I was the fastest typist in class although I had more than a head start on everyone else but the girls left me standing in shorthand. When I achieved the minimum industry standard of 80 words per minute in shorthand some of the girls were hitting 120 wpm! Typing was something else though, when they were hard pushed to reach the minimum expected standard of 40 wpm I was coasting at 60 wpm. In inter school typewriter speed competitions I could type faster than I could write shorthand! If memory serves me correctly many could type at well over 100 wpm as well though. There was a teacher’s certificate for shorthand though at 250 wpm. I can’t imagine being able to talk that fast.

This article is intended more for those who want to type properly on a typewriter but the same skill also applies equally to a computer that we all seem to be resigned to using so much these days. Okay, many type quite well and fast using two fingers but it is so much easier once mastered to use all your fingers. Some typewriters are less forgiving than others and two finger typing tends to make some machines give uneven printing which looks a bit like amateur hour. Back in the days when a typist would spend eight hours a day typing it would have been really tiring trying to use just two fingers.  Why not give it a try, you can get a teach yourself book on typing on auction sites like Ebay for a few pounds. I doesn’t take long and your fingers will thank you for it!!!


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