Tag Archives: Jack Zylkin

Back in with the old, still room for the new


I finally got around to reading an interview a friend sent me a while back. Avi Solomon of Boing Boing interviewed Jack Zylkin, inventor of the USB Typewriter. I remember hearing about this thing back when he first announced it to the world, typewriter nerds everywhere rejoiced, including me.

But there seems to be something deeper at work here. More than just some mad scientist who’s fusing the past and future in some unnecessary but novel creation, Zylkin is trying to preserve something that our increasingly fast-paced lives are losing room for. The key is that Zylkin isn’t trying to do away with the conveniences of, say, an iPad; instead, he’s trying to highlight the benefits of a typewriter — nostalgia, sure, but also focus and tangible results — while taking advantage of data backup and storage.

“The other thing is that technology today is so disposable! For example, no one thinks about passing down their iPhone3 as a family heirloom (they probably are selling them to buy iPhone4s) but the typewriters I work on have been around for about 100 years and still look and work great!

Lastly, there is also real nostalgia for the olden days of communication, where you could look forward to receiving a letter or an invitation in the mail (as opposed to a twitter or an evite). Hopefully the USB Typewriter will help reclaim some of the intimacy and specialness of the art of letter writing.”

A man after my own heart. Read the full interview here.

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