Friday, August 30, 2013

Watch the type

They don't make these anymore.

Chennai had at least two factories making big typewriter brands. Both were from the same group, but Halda was the more prominent of the two, with its factory right on Mount Road. I can't remember ever having seen the factory - in fact I am sure that by the 1990s, the factory had ceased production - but even as recently as 2007, news reports referred to that site as the "Halda Junction". That factory was started in 1956 with a capacity of about 3,500 typewriters annually - with keyboards in 3 languages. By 1960, they had expanded the plant, with capacity going up to 15,000 units and by one report, 83% of the parts being indigenously manufactured.

Halda AB, the Swedish parent had another brand, Facit, which turned out typewriters from its factory in Perungudi. I haven't been able to get much information on when this was started, or when it stopped, but by the 1980s, the typewriter's days were numbered. Halda AB had put their typewriter business on the block; passing through a few hands, they were finally laid to rest sometime in the 1990s. Without any competition, Godrej & Boyce continued making their machines into the 21st century. That sole manufacturer of manual typewriters in the world finally shut production down in April 2011. 

Halda continues to be around today, though in a different avatar. Check out this site!

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