Writing, Hearing: An Old Typewriter

Listener Jim Apfelbaum of Austin, Texas, takes us back in time as he praises the sounds of his typewriter as part of our series "SoundClips."

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Now another SoundClip. Listeners from around the country are sharing interesting sounds with us. Today's comes from a man who writes an old-fashioned way.

(Soundbite of typewriter)

Mr. JIM APFELBAUM (WRITER): This is Jim Apfelbaum. I'm a writer in Austin, Texas, and I have an implement that I use in my office every day. It's both a computer, a self-contained printer. It's portable, it never eats your work and requires neither batteries nor electricity to operate. But the best feature of a typewriter, though, has got to be the sound.

(Soundbite of typewriter)

Mr. APFELBAUM: The typewriter is full of sounds. You're putting the paper in, and that has a certain kind of - it's almost like turning the key. You wind the paper in and line it up, and that has a cool sound to it, I think, as well. And then the tapping, of course. The keys going against it. The bell is at the end of the line of type.

(Soundbite of typewriter)

Mr. APFELBAUM: You have a lever that you hit to get back and space it and line it up to go to the next space. The typewriter has a lot of activity to it. I think it conveys enterprise and creativity. You feel you're getting somewhere with a typewriter, I think.

(Soundbite of typewriter)

BLOCK: That's Jim Apfelbaum of Austin, Texas, demonstrating a writing instrument you may remember. It's called a typewriter. If there's a startling or comforting or baffling sound that you can tell us about, please do. You can go to npr.org and search for SoundClips.

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