Remembering Typing Class: The Class That Actually Mattered In The Long Run

What is important in all stages of development is to be willing and prepared to adapt to the changes new technologies bring.

Internet has made it incredibly easy to access to all kinds of information and educative materials needed, via online books, websites, images, audio and video, and webinars. Nowadays, teachers can act as a “guide on the side” only.

Yet, a few centuries ago, education was far different, and students were much more passive in the learning process.

While the art of typing is second-nature for most of us now, it was once a game-changing activity that was taught at school.

Luckily, manufacturers, teachers, and employers, all realized the potential role of typewriters and the countless benefits of typing on time, and dedicated themselves to it.

The first typing device was designed and patented in the 1700s, but the first manufactured typing devices were launched in the 1870s. The introduction of the typewriter allowed many to get the same opportunities, and removed obstacles placed by stigma and discrimination.

Namely, the universal “look” of the typewriter helped women, the blind, and people with other physical or mental disabilities the opportunity to equally access education and get jobs.

In turn, women became more present in the office, they started working in cleaner workplaces, and were more respected and better paid. Typewriters were considered reliable tools for writing and communication by the end of the 19th century.

Typewriter manufacturer Remington designed courses to establish the status of their product, and they were initially simple, but over time, became pretty universal.

Darren Wershler, the author of The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting, explained that the early Remington typewriters were marketed specifically to women. Moreover, they were even designed to resemble the sewing machines of the time and were occasionally decorated with flowers.

Also, these first Remington typewriters, created by Sholes, Glidden, and Soule, involved a foot pedal (like a sewing machine) to control carriage returns.

Typing courses was being taught in American high schools in the 20th century, as experts realized that they could offer numerous benefits for students.

A 1934 study showed that first and second graders could learn typing, and it prevented them from developing bad habits. Also, students who learned to type later found it more difficult.

Researchers found that these classes also improved their spelling skills and reading capacity, and students enjoyed writing more when they were doing it on a typewriter.

Students started learning typewriting in the 50s and 60s, and all educators agreed that it improved their English language skills.

Typing classes were initially mostly attended by women, as typing was considered a secretary’s work, which was a female-dominated profession. Yet, when these classes became mandatory, the ration of girls and boys leveled off.

Teachers were well aware of the importance of this skill, and wanted to ensure their students are proficient in it.

They often asked their students to type with blindfolds on, some placed a towel or cloth over the top of their hands and others used a pseudo latex overlay to prevent them from seeing the keys while typing.

The skill to type has evolved over time, with the advancement of computer technology, and the reducing age at which children are exposed to it.

These days, they probably learn it at the youngest age so far, and standardized tests and metrics point out the need for very young learners to successfully navigate a computer. Therefore, typing remains a crucial and valued expertise.