The way technology is constantly evolving with better, faster computers coming on to the market every couple of months, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that there is technology out there that doesn't employ a microprocessor. In fact, typewriters are still a thriving business in South Africa.
Brother South Africa' sales figures indicate that about 500 typewriter units are sold a year – a figure that has remained constant over the past three years. Most of the typewriter orders are generated by rural schools and small businesses.
In fact, demand is such that Brother SA offers four electronic typewriter models, for users ranging from students and home users to small businesses.
Wayne Everton MD of Brother SA, comments: “Many rural schools prefer to use typewriters, because they do not have computers available to teach typing as a subject. Moreover, teaching is made easier using a typewriter as it’s not as complicated as using a computer, and therefore serves as the perfect initial introduction to technology.”
In other cases, where the schools own computers but don’t have IT teachers, typewriters are the still the best and only option available.
Some schools still use typewriters to type on Roneo stencils, which are used to print bulk notes, exam pads, newsletters and other forms of written communication.
Cost is another determining factor is choosing what many might consider an outdated technology. Typewriter ribbons are cheaper than printer toners, making them more viable for schools with a low budget.
These machines are also easier to transport and lockup to prevent theft. The compact, portable typewriter units can be taken home by the teacher and brought back to school only for lessons.
In the small business environment, particularly those run by aged business owners who have not adopted the latest technology – and in many cases don’t have any intention to do so, typewriters are still the preferred option.