In the 21st century when most of the world’s typewriter manufacturing companies have long closed shops, the National Theatre is spending a whopping sum of N22.8 million to purchase the few remaining ones.
Demand for the machines has sunk in the last 10 years as consumers switch to computers.
LEADERSHIP checks showed that typewriters are at the end of their line as most of the world’s typewriter manufacturers have closed down their plants or converted to other lines of productions.
The last standing typewriter factory in the world, Godrej and Boyce, is closing its plant in Mumbai, India. What remains are just several hundred typewriters, most of which are Arabic language models.
Although typewriters became obsolete years ago in the west, they were still common in India - until recently, reported the Daily Mail.
Typewriter sales have plummeted in the past several years: the company sold fewer than 800 machines in 2010, down from the 50,000 it produced every year in the 1990s.
“From the early 2000s onwards, computers started dominating. All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us,” general manager Millind Dukle told the Business Standard. “We are not getting many orders now. But this might be the last chance for typewriter lovers. Now, our primary market is among the defence agencies, courts and government offices.”
Another one of Godrej and Boyce’s typewriter plants in Shirwal was shut down recently and is now used as a refrigerator manufacturing unit.
In the face of this development, the National Theatre provided for N22.8 million in its 2012 budget for the purchase of typewriters.
The item, which comes under the heading “Purchase of fixed assets – general” has other items as purchase of office furniture and fittings, purchase of photocopying machines, purchase of fire-fighting equipment as well as purchase of recreational facilities.
Kabir Yusuf, general manager, National Theatre, when asked about the item exclaimed, “Who uses typewriters these days?” He however said the money was for writing equipment.
When asked to shed more light on what he meant, he said the sub-head typewriter is the budget template under which there are other items, which he would not mention.