When did typewriters become obsolete?

I remember as a child back in the mid-late 90s they were already considered to be going out of use, though come to think of it considering that most people still didn’t have personal computers in their homes until the end of the 90s/beginning of the 00s I wonder if many people in fact still used them even then?

Would it be safe to say that the 1990s was the last decade in which a lot of people in America were still using typewriters?

That sounds about right for me. Once we had a printer for the Commodore 64 there was no point to a typewriter. At work, a few years before that, but still 90s.

We (my wife anyway) has/had a Brother typewriter that was in that gap.

I work in a company that has hundreds of $millions in sales. Every so often I hear the clack of a typewriter; they’re still really handy and fast to type out mailing labels and similar items. It may only be a couple of times a week, but it is still used.

I used a typewriter to do some of my homework assignments up until I was in 8th grade, in 1996/1997, and by then I was unique enough in not having a computer to do my work on that when we’d do “pass your assignment around without your name on it and your classmates get to judge it” stuff, mine was instantly identifiable because it was typed.

People still ask for them at the library. We have one we have to wheel out. I hope there is a fire one day and that’s the only casualty.

Did you live in a fairly wealthy neighborhood? Because stats suggest that only about 1/3 of people had home computers in 1996/97. I imagine for families with children that figure may have been a bit higher, though.

Yeah - I was a poor kid in a pretty well-to-do neighborhood. (One of my classmates had her own Cessna.)

“The fire appears to be suspicious. Did the typewriter have any enemies?” “No, everyone loved that typewriter. Well, everyone except Zsofia.” “Its true, its true, Mr. Mason! But it had it coming! It would drive anyone mad!!”

Sounds right to me, too.

I was typing my papers in college until senior year (1992/1993), when I started using WordStar. When I started working in the fall of 1993 there were computers, but typewriters were still kept out and used for forms and labels. I got my first home computer (as an adult) around 1996/1997: it was a used desktop that a friend of my mom’s gave me. I didn’t get online at home until around '98, and didn’t have an email address until that year, too.

I took typing AND computer in high school.

As of 2005, I used one once per week or so. For some reason there was a form that didn’t work on the computer, so it was handwritten or typed on a typewriter. I left that job in 05, I would assume that the form is now online or something, but for all I know they are still using it weekly.

There was a brief period, maybe around early to mid 90’s, before pc’s went into high gear where they were portable word processor type devices that probably took huge market share from standard typewriters. I had one of those.

I doubt whether that high a proportion of households ever had home typewriters, though. Furthermore, the people who were buying home computers relatively early on were probably largely coincident with the ones who already had typewriters. Typewriters were not hanging on in the poorer or less tech-savvy households. Those had never had typewriters in the first place.

As late as the mid nineties, I used one for labeling at work. Our printer was a dot matrix and not suited for small stuff like that, so we wheeled out the old SelectricII when we had to ship something.

In 1995, my college roommate used a typewriter to write his assignments. He was widely regarded as a loon because of it.

Like poor people had pagers long after wealthier people switched over to cell phones. It isn’t that they had pagers all along, it’s that they got them used and cheap after the market shifted.

We got a used electric typewriter in the early 90s and I used it for school papers and typing practice until we finally got a computer when I was a high school senior in early '99. I’m sure we got that typewriter cheap precisely because some wealthier family got a computer in the early 90s, when we couldn’t afford one yet.

That sounds about right. I know I was still using an old Selectric to fill out forms at my school well into the 90s. Eventually everything migrated on-line, but there some serious hold-outs.

In late 2000 or early 2001, I had to fill out a form for a replacement auto title. It needed to be typed, and I had a heck of a time finding a typewriter in my company. Eventually did find one.

Typewriter related story: a guy a couple of cubes over from me at work sounds like he is working on a 1920s version Remington manual typewriter. He is beating the shit out of his laptop keyboard. The sound is really annoying.

I did too. It cost about $100, and this was back when computers were still at least $1,000, and before AOL, so 90% of what most people did was word processing. At my university, that computer clusters were always full of people writing papers. The only people doing anything else were taking programming classes.

Windows XP was the first version where you could select foreign keyboards, and didn’t need special programs. My uncle used a Hebrew typewriter sometimes even though he had long abandoned qwerty typewriters.

That, plus laser printers were what spelled the end of typewriters.

A lot of organizations required things in duplicate or triplicate in forms of different colors, and used typewriters for carbons. Dot matrix was slow, and it was hard to feed page by page. Even bubble-jet was slow, and feeding different colors was a pain. People who were used to typing found just using the typewriter to make the carbons easier. When laser printers came out, it was suddenly so easy, and you didn’t have to start over if you made a mistake.

Then the 3-in-1s came out, and everyone had a cheap photocopier. It was even easier. Print one, and photocopy the other two. There were deliberate hold-outs, but one by one they retired. So the beginning of the 21st century was about the time the typewriter was gone for good.

By the mid 80s classical mechanical and electric typewriters were obsolete in the workplace in a sense. Some form of electronic typewriter that ranged from the portable dot matrix units up to full blown word processors were purchased for all new applications. Any new purchases of the old types were to replace units or to add new personnel to a function that would soon be obsolete anyway.