Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition
Chapter 26. The Typewriter
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Content and extension: The typewriter extends the use of the written word, and hence, like other media that extend the written word, it extends the mind.
Cascade: The cascade is from the mind to the spoken word to the written word to the typewritten word.
LOM: The typewriter enhances writing, obsolesces the fountain pen, retrieves the personal secretary, and reverses into word processing.
The typewriter is almost totally obsolesced. One rarely sees one these days. One can still buy a typewriter, however. Many used ones are bought as collector items. Some are still being manufactured, but the numbers are tiny compared to the number of computers that are manufactured. At any rate, the typewriter lives on morphed onto the computer keyboard retaining the original QWERTY arrangement of the keys as a vestigial structure in the evolution of writing machines. The QWERTY arrangement of the keys dates back to the early days of the typewriter when the manufacturers of typewriters instituted this standard in order to slow down the speed of the typist so that the keys ← 221 | 222 → would not get entangled. After improving the mechanism there was no longer a need for this inefficient arrangement of the keys; however, it was too late to change back to a better arrangement. By this time, QWERTY had become the standard for typing, and it also survived the transition from typewriters to computers and is...
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