However, rewind fifty years and people would be asking ‘computer what?’ Recently, electronics company Brother produced the last typewriter to be made in the UK, and in response we’re taking a look at how office equipment has changed since the 1960s. Abandoning wireless printers for businesses for a traditional copying machine, to swapping YouTube for a Transistor Radio, we’re going to explore the aspects that we take for granted in the workplace, and investigate which technology rocked the office in the swinging sixties, Mad Men style.
It’s true; photocopiers still remain a treasured feature of the modern day office. Although, when you’re buying your best business printer, just spare a thought to those half a century ago who could only resort to old-school copying machines for all their multi-printing needs. Taking the workplace by storm from 1959 onwards, the Xerox gained worldwide critical acclaim as it replaced the need for typists to produce every single copy. However, by today’s standards, the 1960s’ Xerox wouldn’t have been up to scratch as it took a whole twenty-six seconds to print one copy. Back then, that was living in the fast lane.
A popular office piece since the mid- 19th century, the typewriter was an effective means of the simply getting words down on paper; what more could you ask for? However, as technology advances, and computers are no longer a want but a need, it’s easy to understand why typewriters have been pushed to the sidelines. Once used by secretaries and professional writers across the globe, these machines have now become an emblem of a time that was; the last one to be made in the UK by Brother now existing in the London Science Museum.
If people want to listen to music on demand these days, then there’s no issue. Whether it’s from your Smartphone or an iPod, all it requires is one click and you’re there. Although pre- 1960s, access to some decent tunes wasn’t that easy. During this era the transistor radio made its first appearance. Revolutionary for its time, it allowed its owners to listen to music wherever they wanted. Doesn’t sound too bad considering it was fifty years ago does it? Well, let’s put it this way, there’d be no chance of you discreetly listening to music whilst doing your work with this bad boy, that’s for sure!
Let’s be honest, it’s difficult for us to look at a Nokia 3310 without having a little giggle (how on earth did we cope?) But fifty years ago, the public weren’t privileged to such luxuries. The best thing that an office in the 1960s could expect was a rotary phone, which required rotating a dial clockwise in order to register a number. Could you imagine the business men of the 21st century coping with this as their best means of communication with the world? It would be great entertainment for us, but perhaps not the best for office morale.