Typewriters make a comeback in wake of the Sony cyber-attack

Old typewriters sit on a shelf in National Theatre's Costume and Props Hire department in Kennington on October 30, 2013 in London, England. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

It’s back to 1992 for employees of Sony Pictures in the wake of the cyber-attack that resulted in private emails being released.

According to a report in Techcrunch, one employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told the online publication “We are stuck in 1992 over here.” She was referring to how they dragged out old printers to cut cheques and dusted off fax machines to send messages. They were even talking to each other rather than sending emails or instant messages.

In July, The Daily Mail reported that typewriter sales were booming in Germany following revelations the U.S. spied on their politicians in the NSA spying scandal.

The Russian government is also said to have revived old technology, and has returned to using typewriters to avoid being hacked. Bad news for the trees – it also means an expansion of creating paper documents.

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In Phoenix, Arizona, Mesa Typewriter, a third generation typewriter repair shop has seen a comeback in the manually powered, off the grid technology. Owner Bill Wahl said the growth is coming from “a younger generation looking for a different experience while writing”.

“Chris” from Toronto Typewriters, whose tag line is “Bringing Back the Art of Communication”, has also seen a surge in typewriter sales of late but sees it more as a throwback to the analog days.

His clients include writers, poets and even parents, searching for that “private experience between the writer and their thoughts that evades the prying eyes of the online world”.

“The ‘clicking’ and ‘clacking’ of the keys on paper and the sound of the ringing at the end of each line is brilliant. The imperfections of each typed letter leave the writer with a unique and original piece of written art. The old world experience is similar to the crackling of an old vinyl record,” Chris says.

Whether Sony will start making typewriters is yet to be seen – but this latest hacking scandal has clearly got people talking – or should we say typing, the old fashioned way.

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