Until the 19th century, the only possibility of writing was hand.
The technology of writing is extremely complex. Writing and reading begin by being a socially restricted skill and gradually extends to all social groups.
But if we think about Europe, we realize that the generalization of this technology took 500 years, from the invention of the printing press in the 15th century to mass education in the 20th century. Writing depends of a long process of learning.
The typewriter appears in the 19th century. This is born from a need to write faster and across all areas of human activity. In addition to education, the typewriter is widespread quickly in all administrative areas of all activities, enabling a process of communication and registration. Societies become more complex and it was necessary to implement the writing production processes.
- One of the things that happens with calligraphy is to teach writing so that the letters connect to each other and therefore the handwriting is a line that links the letters together.
- On the one hand we have this line of handwriting, and on the other we have the side who writes. The handwriting means an extension, almost corporal, of the individual who writes.
The typewriter will abstract the writing system and represent it in an economic way through the alphabet. This is based on the principle of abstracting the code of writing and creating a keyboard that represents this code of writing. In a way, that had already been done by the first printers. One of the things when you start typing is that creates a great distance between who reads and who writes. By placing the letters in front of the subject, it explicitly shows the code of the writing, shows us that when we are writing we are combining elements of a code.
One of the things that happens at the beginning of the 20th century is a movement called Modernism: one of the things that modernists do is to explore this writing instrument. The typewriter introduces a process of mechanization of written production.
The typewriter makes it possible to think about writing from the outside in, whereas handwriting suggests that writing can only be thought of from the inside out. In typewriting the process inverted: the keyboard is in front of us and allows us to combine the letters.
That’s why the way you write changes radically with this conditioning factor.