Typewriter enthusiasts around the globe are probably feeling a bit blue this week after hearing that Godrej and Boyce, one of the world’s last operational typewriter factories located in Mumbai, India, closed its doors for the last time after an impressive one-hundred-and-fourteen year run. Once regarded as an indispensable device for any writer, the typewriter has long been regarded for both its beauty and functionality. Ernest Hemingway once said, “Typewriters write the way people talk.” Does this mean the end of a long conversation – a conversation that began almost three hundred years ago?

From Henry James to Jack Kerouac, Hunter Thompson to David Sedaris, the advent of the typewriter has helped shape the English language for centuries. In E.E. Cummings’ “Grasshopper Poem,” the writer intentionally uses the typewriter for poetic effect, and William S. Burroughs wrote of a “soft typewriter’ writing our lives, and our books into existence.”

(Find out the interesting history of the keyboard, the meaning of “QWERTY“ and what “typewriter words” are, here.)

Perhaps the impending obsolescence of the typewriter began in the 1980s with the rise in popularity of the word processor and the personal computer. These inventions quickly overshadowed their precursor, primarily due to their efficiency and ability to store and retrieve documents. It’s that same efficiency that may have driven Henry Mill to obtain a patent in 1714 for a “Machine for Transcribing Letters” onto paper or parchment.

As in the case of Italian inventor Pellegrino Turri and his design in 1808, many early typewriters were developed to enable the blind to write. Inspired by his affection for the Contessa Fantoni, a childhood friend in the early stages of blindness, Turri invented a machine that allowed the Contessa to communicate with the world. The affectionate correspondence between the two would later inspired the love story in Carey Wallace’s The Blind Contessa’s New Machine.

By the late 19th century, hundreds of typing machines were patented throughout Europe and North America, and while many of these patents would fail to see the light of day, John Pratt’s “Pterotype” would become the prototype and inspiration for Christopher Sholes’ invention of the standardized typewriter in 1867.

Interestingly, Godrej and Boyce’s top customers were Indian defense agencies, courts and government offices – citing habit and emotional attachment as their reason for keeping it old school.

This post has been updated as we have learned that Godrej and Boyce are not, in fact, the last manufacturers of the typewriter. Long live the typing machine!

which matters more: body fat or BMI?

Shape October 1, 2004 | Schlosberg, Suzanne Which is the more important gauge for slimming down: body mass index (BMI) or percentage of body fat? We answer three of your body-measurement guestions here.

Q What is the difference between BMI and body-fat percentage?

A Although both are ways of estimating how “fat” a person is, body-fat percentage is a more useful tool because it distinguishes between the weight of fat and that of your lean body mass – bones, organs, muscle and connective tissue. But there are no hard and fast rules on the ideal percentage of fat, says exercise scientist Larry Tucker, Ph.D., director of the Body Composition Laboratory at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah: Some say the upper limit of healthy for women is 32 percent; others argue for 35 percent.

However, the location of the fat is probably more important than the amount of fat, Tucker says. Most methods of body-fat testing don’t reveal how much fat is located in the abdominal area and how much is located elsewhere. Excess deep abdominal fat, clumped around your organs, is linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions, whereas ample hips and thighs likely pose fewer health risks. see here body fat percentage calculator

As a measure of disease risk, your waist circumference may be more useful than either BMI or body-fat percentage. Women with a waist measurement greater than 35 inches are at higher risk for the diseases above, according to the National Institutes of Health.

If you’re trying to slim down, body-fat percentage can be a helpful way to gauge your progress; however, Tucker emphasizes, “there’s a lot of potential error in body-fat measurement.” Even the most accurate methods, including underwater weighing and a DEXA body scan, have a margin of error of about 1-3 percent when performed by even the most experienced technicians. Less-accurate methods, such as skin-fold calipers and bioelectrical impedance (see guestion on next page), can have a margin of error of 4 percent – even greater if the tester doesn’t do everything precisely right.

Q I just got a fancy scale that gives your body mass index. Being 5-foot-5 and 140 pounds, I was expecting my BMI to be in the low 20s. To my surprise, it turned out to be 29.6, as opposed to the 23.3 I got using Shape.com’s BMI tool. According to one reading I am healthy; the other says I’m overweight. Which should I believe?

A “The 23.3 is correct,” says body-fat expert Larry Tucker. One way to verify the number is to do the math yourself, plugging your height and weight into the formula for BMI: weight in pounds x 704.5; divided by [height in inches x height in inches]. In your case that would be: 140 pounds x 704.5 = 98,630, which, divided by 65 x 65, comes to 23.3.

However, Tucker notes, don’t rely on your BMI results to determine whether you are healthy. It’s important to consider these numbers in conjunction with other health factors such as your levels of activity, blood pressure and cholesterol, and how much body fat you have and where it’s located. Because BMI takes into consideration only height and weight, it can be inaccurate if a person has a lot of muscle mass, which weighs more than fat. “A lean, muscular athlete may register as obese on the BMI chart,” Tucker says. (Someone with a BMI of 25 or greater is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.) BMI also may be inaccurate for people who have little muscle. “As people get older, their muscle mass tends to decline,” Tucker says. So a person’s weight – and BMI – may stay the same even though a greater proportion of the person’s weight is fat.

Q This morning I got a body-fat analysis done at my gym. I stood barefoot on a high-tech scale and received a guick printout, but nobody explained the results. What are TBW, FFM, BMR and impedance?

A PTG01C5aTBW is an acronym for “total body weight” and FFM is short for “fat-free mass,” the weight of everything in your body that is not fat. BMR means “basal metabolic rate” (aka RMR, or resting metabolic rate) – in other words, “how much energy [in calories] your body would expend if you were just lying still all day and hadn’t eaten for at least 12 hours,” says Tony G. Babb, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The BMR number that appeared on your body-fat test results was predicted from such measures as your age, gender, total body weight and body composition; however, Babb emphasizes, it’s only a rough estimate. “Measuring oxygen consumption is more accurate, but you’d have to breathe through a special mouthpiece in a lab,” he adds. this web site body fat percentage calculator

Impedance is the term for the method used by the body-fat scale you stood on. Also known as bio-impedance analysis, it sends an alternating current through your body from one foot to the other. The faster the electrical signal travels, the more muscular you are. That’s because water conducts electricity, and muscle contains significant amounts of water; fat contains virtually no water, so it impedes the signal. The scale uses the speed of the signal to calculate your body-fat percentage.

This method of testing is very sensitive: How well-hydrated you are when the test is done, and your temperature, prior exercise and meals, all can affect results. Also, impedance devices are typically less accurate for people who are obese or very lean. For best results, get tested first thing in the morning, before you’ve eaten or exercised but about a half-hour to an hour after you’ve had a glass of water. Also, avoid testing during menstruation because some women retain water during that time. Even then, Babb says, “take the results as a gross estimate.” [Sidebar] A waist measurement over 35 inches puts your health at risk.

[Sidebar] Consider your BMI along with other factors – activity level, blood pressure and where you store body fat.

[Author Affiliation] Suzanne Schlosberg is the author of The Curse of the Singles Table (Warner Books, 2004).

Schlosberg, Suzanne


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  2. pita -  July 22, 2013 - 2:11 am

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  3. Kerry -  June 29, 2013 - 5:04 pm

    Asking questions are genuinely good thing if you
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  4. pand -  March 28, 2013 - 12:27 am

    The green typewriter in the photo is so beautiful, i like it. What’s a pity that more and more beautiful thing would be far away from us.

  5. The Cheshire Cat -  April 4, 2012 - 9:16 am

    the reason why QWERTYUIOP is the first row of letter keys on every keyboard is because of the typewriter! Apparently the dude that invented it was trying to type something and it came out as QWERTYUIOP.

  6. S. Alexander Hoebermann -  May 14, 2011 - 8:00 am

    Most ironic in the article is the capitalization of e.e. cummings. As anyone knows, “e.e. cummings” is NEVER capitalized, a style created because of the defect in his typewriter…

  7. susanmichelle -  May 11, 2011 - 10:28 am

    Long conversations ended when texting was created..people don’t talk anymore.

  8. lol -  May 9, 2011 - 9:27 pm

    bye typewriter :(

  9. Pais -  May 4, 2011 - 9:38 am

    The QWERTY keyboard was, indeed, invented to slow typists down–because some were becoming so proficient that they were constantly causing the mechanical type arms to jam–a problem that persisted until the invention of the IBM Selectric. I had an IBM model “B” that was put into service about the same time I was born (1951) and when I really got smoking I could jam it up royally–and at least once had to have some of the arms realigned. QWERTY works just fine, thanks. Don’t you think that if there were a better design, people would clamor for it? My iPhone has a QWERTY keyboard! And, BTW, I type really fast! If you changed my keyboard, I’d have to learn it all over again.

  10. gerbilmama -  May 3, 2011 - 12:19 pm

    My mother made me take typing in the 9th grade! At start of the class, we were all on manuals, then the girls got electrics while the boys got stuck with the manuals. I remember the terror of Coach Leblanc, our teacher, walking, ready with a ruler to smack our wrists, if we did not type in proper position. I never got smacked, and now 35 yrs later, I have never had any problems with my wrists. Thanks go to Mom and to Coach!!

  11. enema-addict -  May 3, 2011 - 11:27 am

    i wont miss em

  12. Megan -  May 2, 2011 - 4:19 pm

    Do some of the very seasoned senior news people still use typewriters? I remember when I first started in news business, there were several seasoned gentlemen who still used them, & could actually pound out a news story w/2 fingers on a manual typewriter faster than we neopytes on computer keyboard. We all were fascinated.

  13. Bill -  May 2, 2011 - 12:20 pm

    I thought this site was about words?
    What is the meaning/origin of the words “type writer”

  14. louis paiz -  May 2, 2011 - 10:41 am

    well goodby typewritter it may become absolite i miss it but it will be more need ti now such as an inkwel or a favorite pen or pencil. you may lough but here in my desk in my left hand side i have my feather, and at home in my bookcase in an special place i have faisan feather that i call my treasure. who knows now i my nedd an specialplace for an old typewritter. thanks

  15. Paul B -  May 2, 2011 - 8:33 am

    I’m 51 and learned to type in a fourth grade summer school class, my parents had to rent a typewriter for me and it was a big deal because we did not have much money. The trick was carrying it back and forth to school everyday seemed like the thing weighed almost as much as I did.

    Still remember it. Big, hummed and came to life when you turned it on the keys almost seemed to work themselves they were so easy to type on. To this day I blame my shoulder problems on carrying that machine, but typing has been one of my most used skills.

    The IBM Selectric is the typewriter with the ball, and I still believe the best typewriter ever made.

  16. Spike -  May 2, 2011 - 8:17 am

    Like many others here, the typewriter is a piece of nostalgia for me. Kolchak the Night Stalker regularly packed up his old typewriter, hastily pursuing a mummy or werewolf. Warren Zevon sang how “I pawned my Smith-Corona and I went to meet my man”. To this day I remember mistyping the word “scuebtust” for “scientist” in a paper on Michelangelo in elementary school. I still own a Royal which must be getting close to 100 years old. I haven’t used a typewriter in decades, but I will certainly miss them.

  17. Bella -  May 2, 2011 - 8:02 am

    The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
    The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

  18. Book Beater -  May 2, 2011 - 7:19 am

    We all love the written word.
    The real love story is in what we write to each other right here, to people we’ll never know; on our cell phones, and in our e-mails to the people who fill our lives.
    We owe it all not to some industrial Italian, but to Trog who drew that first picture of the hunt on his cave wall.

  19. Lando -  May 2, 2011 - 6:12 am

    Actually it should be “Christopher Sholes’s invention.” Form the possessive singular of nouns with /’s/.

  20. WALNUT -  May 1, 2011 - 11:48 pm


  21. Aila -  May 1, 2011 - 10:07 am

    Love typewriters,though I haven’t seen one.

  22. Maggie -  May 1, 2011 - 9:07 am

    My mother wouldn’t let me drive until I was both 18 and could type 45 wpm! I was artistic-minded, and she was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to support myself unless I could type. She passed on in 1985. I know that she would smile at how far technology has come in my lifetime…and also that I am generating income without a typewriter. I miss her.

  23. Trisha -  May 1, 2011 - 6:57 am

    When a little kid asked what a typewriter was the answer came out to be like a computer only you don’t have to print out what you wrote because it prints it as you write. How about those typewriters that had balls you could interchange to get a different font? And the guy who decided how the keys would be put in a certain position did it on purpose so you couldn’t type as fast as you could if they were in another position. He didn’t want our finger to go too fast & get overly tired. But imagine. We all learn to type on keyboards that are all the same but could be better.

  24. Pam -  May 1, 2011 - 6:35 am

    Not so fast – a friend wrote this to me: “I love how this story of the ‘last’ typewriter managed to get in newspapers all over the world with apparently no one bothering to check the utterly obvious facts. Brother still manufactures and sells typewriters. So does Canon. Even Staples carries them.”

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