Google's doodle for today (23 April): isn't the typewriter carriage going in the wrong direction?

Today’s Google doodle is celebrating the 120th anniversary of the birth of Dame Ngaio Marsh, the New Zealand crime writer and theatre director. The doodle actually says 122nd anniversary, which is wrong, since Marsh was born in 1895. Someone at Google made a typo.

But the real question: the carriage on the typewriter - isn’t it going in the wrong direction? Surely it always moved to the left and then you used your left hand to push it back across to the right? The doodle has it moving to the right. I assume the graphics people have never had to use one.

Just a note, this seems to be specific to New Zealand and Australia. The UK got a St George related doodle, and Canada and the US got nothin’.

But, yeah, the carriage is moving wrong. I think the artist envisioned it from the wrong angle.

Google does country specific now.

Southern hemisphere, remember?

.ti htiw gnorw gnihtyna ees t’nod I

As a Kiwi, thank you OP. I wondered what the Google graphic represented and am touched that Dame Ngaio is remembered.

Hover your mouse pointer over it and it will tell you. Also when you click on it, it takes you to search results for it.

˙ʎsɐǝ ǝʇᴉnb sᴉ xᴉɟ ǝɥʇ ʇnq 'op I

This is really curious. I can’t see it, but logically, it would seem that the carriage should move to the left and you should return it with the left hand. But both my wife and I have distinct memories of hitting the carriage return with the right hand. This is driving me nuts. More evidence: the enter (return) key on my keyboard is on the right side. Someone take me out of my confusion, please.

Memory is funny stuff. 20 years of tapping the Enter key with your right pinky has supplanted the previous 40 years of slapping that carriage back with your left hand.

Note also that when electric typewriters came into use in the 1960s the Enter key was on the right, same as computer keyboards are now. So it’s really more like 50 years of tapping Enter with pinky & however few earlier years one may have slapping the carriage handle with the left.

I know you’re old enough to have grown up with manuals, but how much of your lifetimes’ typing has *really *been done on a manual? Even academics didn’t type that much stuff of their own in the Olden Dayes; that’s what professional secretaries were for. Grad students were paying to have theses professionally typed even back in the war years.

Absolutely you use your left hand for carriage return on a manual typewriter (I just pretend returned, and my left hand slapped my monitor).

It is interesting that the Enter/CarriageReturn/LineFeed button ended up on the right on keyboards.

I wonder if there is a reason other than some engineer happened to place it there?

Finally, my wife found the old portable we had in the basement and, sure enough, the return lever was on the left. Maybe they did it differently in the southern hemisphere.:smiley:

Think about this. The carriage had to move to the left, because text reads (and is typed) left to right. Each letter or space had to go to the right of the previous one, which requires moving the paper to the left.

This requires that the carriage has to be pushed back to the right for a new line. Since typewriters, at least originally, were mechanical, having the lever on the left is the only thing that makes sense. Any other arrangement would have to be unnecessarily complex mechanically.

Carriage return video.

Thanks for posting that. I loved the tiny candelabrum. And I’m old, so I do remember pulling the carriage return with my left hand.

Here’s a link to the doodle.

[link provided as I was asking]

It does look like it’s going backwards.

The answer is simple: she’s typing in Hebrew or Arabic. :slight_smile:

Blame Jerry Lewis.

Good point. There probably were typewriters designed for those languages.