Godrej and Boyce, located in India, recently informed the world that it is the world’s last factory that manufactures mechanical typewriters, and is selling off its final 500 units, according to media reports this week.
However, they cannot lay claim to the title of being the world’s last manufacturer of mechanical typewriters. A simple online shopping search, offers a choice of a variety of mechanical typewriters from an array of companies (some even from Amazon.com). Some are even somewhat modern-looking, while others are antique-style nostalgia models. Hammacher Schlemmer sells a sleek-looking one for $159.95 and Olivetti has a portable English/Spanish typewriter for about $120.
Godrej and Boyce stopped producing their typewriters in 2009 and are nearly out of stock, according to India’s Business Standard.
“From the early 2000 onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us. Till 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year,” Milind Dukle, general manager of operations of Godrej, told the Standard.
In the 1990s, when typewriter production reached its peak, the company churned out about 50,000 units annually.
In 2003, a president’s report published in the company’s in-house magazine stated that the business "has realized that it would not be possible to increase the number of Manual Typewriters dramatically in view of product obsolescence."
“We are not getting many orders now … Now, our primary market is among the defense agencies, courts, and government offices,” Dukle told the Business Standard.
The company makes a wide variety of products from refrigerators to animal feed and office furniture. In the last couple of years it has gotten into state-of-the-art vending machines.
Godrej first began manufacturing typewriters in 1955, the first models were not very successful. "There were several complaints its poor quality, especially about the keys being hard on the fingers," reads the article from the company newsletter in 2007.
Ultimately the company began producing the light touch ‘Prima’ model, which ruled the market for decades, achieving a 50 percent market share by the 1990s.
Correction: The orignal article said that the company was selling the world’s last 500 typewriters. There are typewriters for sale online. The Epoch Times regrets this error.