Old, cranky, out-of-touch reporters from the yesteryears of publishing and literary memorabilia collectors alike will be happy to hear that one man -- a Philadelphia hacker -- isn't ready to give up on the greatest part of the pre-PC Era so easily: Jack Zylkin, founding member of Philadelphia's Hive 76, is turning out-of-date typewriters into perfectly usable keyboards for Mac, PC and tablet computers.
USB Typewriter, the moniker under which Zylkin is selling his USB Typewriter devices, rigs vintage typewriters to a small circuit board so that they can be used as keyboards on modern computers. The USB Typewriters can be connected through a simple USB cable and work with any operating system and most popular machines.
(Photo: USB Typewriter)
The company sells all of its products through an Etsy store and currently has nine for sale. Prices range from $699-$799 on those that are currently available, and for $74, you can purchase a DIY kit to rig your own typewriter with the necessary parts to to turn it into a keyboard.
Any fan of the typewriter's look and feel won't need to sacrifice much, if any, of the functions that are currently availble from their keyboard. . All of the USB Typewriters have more keys than just the letter keys including a Backspace, Escape, arrow keys, Ctrl, Alt and a Fn key that allows users to access keys F1-F12.
The enter key is linked up to the Carriage Return, too. Every time you choose to start a new paragraph, your carriage will return to its place on the right hand side of the typewriter. You can also start a new paragraph by using the manual carriage return.
USB Typewriters work with a plethora of tablet devices -- including the Apple iPad -- that supports USB OTG or USB Host mode. The company has created a long list of compatible tablets on its website.
When linked up to a tablet such as the Apple iPad, the typewriter will hold the tablet in position as thought it were a piece of paper. The tablet moves along with the carriage on the machine and is held just above the carriage, right about where a monitor would be on a traditional laptop.
The maker of USB Typewriters appears to be especially proud of the fact that typewriters can be used analog, with paper, while also typing digitially on a computer screen. While we're not sure how helpful this actually is, it's a nice addition to an already fantastic design idea.