When I was about 16 years old I bought myself an Underwood typewriter that looked similar to this:
I paid about $25 dollars for it I think. I taught myself how to type. It took some time, but in a few years I was using two fingers on each hand and hitting speeds of 40 words per minute. Later in college I hit over 60 words per minute, spelling almost all of them correctly.
I kept that typewriter for several years. Eventually I moved on to an actual electric typewriter. Years later while working in the banking industry I became proficient on the world famous IBM Selectric typewriter. But the first few years of typing was done on that 40 ton Underwood. The metal keys, the long reach, man you had to pound that machine with most of your strength. “Touch Typing”? More like “Pound it” typing. To this day the muscles I developed in my fingers typing on that thing allows me to lift entire freight trains with one finger.
Today, I needed to purchase a new keyboard for one of my computers. This is what I was using:
As you can see, it is a standard cheap plastic keyboard. The arrow keys are embedded into the number keys, and the keyboard is almost totally silent. Quiet, soft barely even moving keys. Yuck.
I needed the arrow keys separate from the numbered keys, and I need a noisy keyboard. I learned to type hitting real solid metal keys. These plastic keyboards hardly last me six months.
So, off to CompUSA I went, which was bought by Tiger Direct when CompUSA died. I had about 73,000 models to choose from, ranging in price from $9.99 to several hundred dollars. They had more keyboards than Lindsay Lohan has DUIs.
I swear I must have spent the better part of 45 minutes testing and pounding on keyboards. Some sales kid came over to offer me help, but when I tried to explain to the lad manual typewriters the weight of Volkswagens I lost him. He just pulled down a $400 keyboard that was the size of a surfboard, had over 400 keys and buttons and sliders, lights that that lit up and I think a special USB port for a George Foreman grill.
I told him I couldn’t see myself buying a keyboard that cost more than my first car. He smiled and wandered off.
After another fifteen minutes I had narrowed my choices down to three keyboards, ranging in price from 9.99 to $40 bucks. I was not pleased with any of them. That is when an old sales guy showed up. He wasn’t as old as me, but old enough to at least remember manual typewriters. He knew what people like me wanted, which was a heavy keyboard, not all plastic, with real keys that traveled to connect, and keys that made enough noise that you knew you were typing!
He pulled a Vengeance K60 gaming keyboard off the top shelf. I told him I wasn’t a gamer and did not want to spend a hundred dollars. He persisted though, and after he took it out of the box and let me slam a few keys I was hooked. Hell, this one even had metal in it’s construction! Aluminum, not steel, but sure a lot better than those wimpy plastic keyboards. It is for gamers who use keys mostly, as the keys have mechanical switches or connections. And they are durable. But despite it being a gamer keyboard, there was little to it other than keys. It did have some video/audio control buttons but they were out of the way and I could ignore them. Not fancy LED lights, no weird shape and nothing else to it. The sales person told me he has been selling these keyboards to writers and businessmen who were my age and longed for the solid sound of typewriter keys.
I bought it. I am typing on it now and I am enjoying the sound and the feel so much I am stretching this blog post out as long as I can.
Wow. I love this keyboard.
What an awesome keyboard. For old guys such as myself.
Some Blogging Guy