[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Rexall Typewriter Paper

March 28th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

Rexall Typewriter Paper Pad Cover - circa 1950s - 1960sRexall Fine Quality Typewriter Paper

I found this pad of 8.5″ x 11″ Rexall typewriter paper in a pile of my parents’ old documents. It immediately struck me as interesting because typewriter paper is not something you’d typically find on sale in a drug store these days.

Why? Well, computers, my boy. They obliterated the typewriter market decisively in the early 1990s. People found the ease of word processing on an electronic screen (especially in the post-Macintosh GUI era) much more flexible, powerful, and convenient than the comparatively cumbersome practice of using a typewriter.

Some years ago I recall reading that certain old-school writers still swear by typewriters for clarity of thought and purity of purpose. There’s something to that philosophy, as the modern multi-tasking operating systems we have today are extremely distracting for serious work. Maybe computer single-tasking should come back in vogue.

[ Rexall Fine Quality Typewriter Paper pad (S-789) cover, circa 1960s ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When’s the last time you used a typewriter? Tell us about the occasion.

12 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Rexall Typewriter Paper”

  1. Eagles409 Says:

    When I was a freshman in high school my mom forced me to take a typing class. I fought her all the way on it and I hated every second of that class. I’m old enough that we had IBM Selectric typewriters and not computers in typing class, even though the “computer lab” in school was all Apple //GS computers. That class was the last time I ever used an actual typewriter. I’m so glad that I was forced to take that typing class though, it’s one of the only skills from high school that I still use.

  2. Donn Says:

    The last time I used a typewriter must have been the 6th grade, about 1987. After that, we had the GEM Desktop GUI on our 286 and well, that was all she wrote. (Har har)

    I didn’t actually learn how to *type* until years and years later, when my roommate rearranged all the keys on his keyboard so he would be forced to touch type. I used his computer a fair bit, so I was forced to learn as well. It worked!

  3. PWP Says:

    Wow! That looks so familiar. And only 25 cents, too, a bargain!

  4. JackSoar Says:

    The last time I used a typewriter would probably have been sometime in 1998. It took a long time for our household to get a PC, and even then, only I used it (my parents didn’t own computers themselves until literally this year, and yet my father has worked with them for 30 years.) Until that time, whenever I had the urge to write something (which was often) I either had to do it longhand or to use my mother’s old typewriter that she gave me. Any computer use I could manage was relegated to schools, libraries, and friends’ houses. Nowadays, I can barely walk without tripping over a piece of computer-related equipment.

    I mostly used the typewriter to write stories and letters to Nintendo. I actually got good response letters, come to think of it. Learned some advance info about Ocarina of Time and why Nintendo doesn’t care about continuity between their games. At any rate, my childhood and early adolescence were so bereft of non-video game computers that I got a lot of joy out of that typewriter.

  5. SirPaul Says:

    The last time I used a typewriter – Actually used it for something, rather than just writing drafts of letters – was back in 1994, for a report on the gold rush in California in fourth grade.

  6. FFR Says:

    It was the mid 90’s. My dad had bought an electronic one from Sears. I had some school work to do. Wanting to try something new, I thought it would be cool to use the electronic type writer.

    After trying to use the one line LCD display, I lasted about five minutes before reverting back to Microsoft Works and Windows 3.1.

  7. Casey Castille Says:

    What a fabulous advert! I haven’t had opportunity to experience it in years, but I still smile when I think about the sensual pleasures of onionskin typing paper. It felt like sharkskin and smelled of possibility.

  8. Tan Coul Says:

    About 1997 for me – my trusty old Olivetti got me through University finals, then settled into a dotage of producing Doctor Who fanzines until I got a job with a firm that had computers and printers…

  9. jdiwnab Says:

    When I was little, I wanted one of the electronic typewriters that where aimed at kids back then. Some flat keys, a tiny LCD display. Looking back, I have no idea what you where really suppose to do productive with them. I asked for one for Christmas from Santa. Come morning, I had an actual electric typewriter. It was about 25Lbs (or felt like it to me at the time), and clacked something fierce. I forget what kind of typewriter it was, though.

    I kept it around for years, using it mostly for pretending to type, and having fun with the very noisy and satisfying key presses. I never did anything useful like reports on it. It was finally sold in a yard sale about 5-7 years ago.

  10. The Retroist Says:

    Good typing for all … from Rexall.

  11. Esteban Says:

    I literally cannot remember the last time I used a typewriter. I can’t even remember the last time I played around with one. One thing’s for sure, in my 30 years, I’ve never used one to do any work.

  12. Xyzzy Says:

    Even though this is a few weeks old, I wanted to add in my response. 🙂 I last used a typewriter in 1993. My mother had become angry with me & taken my Apple IIgs power cable as punishment, even though I had an essay due in my high school English class the next morning. I’d never understood the need to write multiple drafts or create an outline, but man, mangling several sheets of paper over edits made the reason we’d been taught to do that very clear…

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