The typewriter

A simple, ordinary, practical object, the typewriter blazed new paths for typesetting, which left behind the print workshop in favour of new uses for typography and new means of production. Women, who were for a long time excluded from typesetting workshops, now found work in them due to their skills with the typewriter.

The increased distribution of information (by the government, among others), leveled the playing field somewhat as regards the "lettre d’imprimerie", which was no longer the fiefdom of professionals. Typographic rules and usages, which had been established by those working in the field, had to accomodated more changeable and vernacular uses.

Typefaces available to everyone.

In the area of type design, the typewriter generated new forms. Unlike moveable type characters, whose width varied depending on the letter, typewriter characters were all the same width. The letters were "deformed" or at least designed with this in mind: the "i"s were very wide and the "m"s very narrow. Lines of text seemed irregular, and there were "holes" in the page, which did not help with readability at all. Later, typewriters would be developed with variable-width letters, and that justified text, which made for a more book-like appearance. Nevertheless, "monospace" typewriters remain in frequent use even today, if only because the character count of a typescript can be quickly calculated based on the number of pages.

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