Richard Polt, a philosophy professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati specializing in Heidegger, has a serious obsession with typewriters, and he has written a very philosophical article (with great illustrations) called Typology: A Phenomenology of Early Typewriters (“The metaphysical significance of writing machines”):
The typewriter is in the process of becoming a thing of the past, along with dial phones and vinyl records. “Things of the past” are still present, of course — it’s their world that is absent (as Heidegger says somewhere about museum pieces). The context in which these things once fit, which gave them their appropriateness and integrated them into human lives, has slipped away — disappearing, piece by imperceptible piece, until one day we recognize that the Gestalt has already changed, that we live in a new world. …
… My own interest in early typewriters — writing machines of the 1870s through the 1930s — is primarily imaginative: these survivors draw me, both as conduits for written signs and as signs themselves of a lost world. In this talk I will try to use my imaginative interest as a basis for phenomenological reflection. I am going to focus especially on the question of “typing”: that is, both our acts of identifying types or forms of things, and the process by which types are themselves generated. What I think I see in typewriters is the finitude of typing.
If that’s too metaphysical for you, check out his Classic Typewriter Page; if you have even the slightest interest in typewriters, I guarantee you there’s something for you there, from the Brief History of Typewriters to the Typewriter Parts page (“What to call the whatchamacallits”) to ETCetera, the journal of the Early Typewriter Collectors Association (edited, of course, by Polk).
Previous LH typewriter posts: History of the Russian Typewriter and Polyglot Typewriting; I see that in the latter I linked to Polk’s list of typewriter repair shops worldwide. You can’t escape the guy! (Typology link via wood s lot.)