Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The changes of time

Agatha Christie' desk and typewriter.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, 
today and forever.  
Do not be carried away by all kinds 
of strange teachings.  
It is good to have our hearts strengthened by grace...."
 Hebrews 13:8-9

A recent children’s magazine had a photo of a portable typewriter and described how it worked.  To me it seemed extraordinary that children today wouldn’t know about an invention that so changed peoples' lives. Memories were sparked of familiar names: Remington, Underwood, Olympia, Imperial, Royal used in offices and remainig the same for nearly a hundred years.   

Pitman typing classes taught us to sit properly, and why I don't suffer from the repetitive strain injuries of today. At 16 I purchased the latest Remington portable typewriter to improve my typing speed and wrote my first book. And for six months in Encyclopaedia Britannica’s typing pool I used the oldest to the most modern manual typewriters, banging those keys seven hours a day, 5 days a week.

I remembered carbon paper placed between sheets of paper, carefully rolled between two rollers on a horizontal carriage which moved when you hit the keys, and ringing a bell near the right hand margin.  Pushing the large silver handle to turn up a line to return it to the left hand margin.  Mistakes had to be rubbed out on all copies and only a few reached the top speed of 60 words per minute.

The first electric typewriters had a carriage return key, and soft touch keys making typing less strenuous.  In 1964 I saw the innovative IBM golf ball machine.  Instead of a large carriage, a golf ball of letters twisted and moved along platform housed within the casing.  Several years later I was using one, and enjoyed interchanging the golf ball to use different sized fonts.  In the 1970’s  a well named daisy wheel improved on that technology.  

I was always grateful for Tippex: white paint, or the paper that would cover up my errors.  Ink ribbon spools became cartridges, and new plastic ribbon ones were disposable. And, at the touch of a special key, small spools of Tippex or Sellotape would jump into place to cover or erase your mistakes.  

All I thought ingenious until 1982 when my husband bought the first BBC home computer.  He wrote a basic word processor, used the TV as a screen, and our daisy wheel typewriter typed by itself at about 100 wpm.   These things are now relegated to history, but one thing hasn’t changed, the original 'qwerty' keyboard designed so those metal rods in manual typewriters wouldn't become entangled.

In fifty years the Lord has accelerated man’s creative abilities. But like the ‘qwerty’ keyboard we need ensure we keep what is good in the face of progress. God’s design for our lives is for good,  His Word our keys, and pacing ourselves in stops entanglements and keeps us in His peace and love   When man believes in himself and not the creator God, he does what is right in his eyes his eyes, and today we have incredible inventions, but a spiritual famine in our land.  Yet God promises a harvest.  He’s given us a writing talent.  And as we invest that in Him, I believe He will multiply and use our words of truth to draw people back to Himself. 

Ruth Johnson