Dads Dig This: The typewriter turned computer

Look at what Scott Adler aka “The Dadler” on Babycenter’s blog Momformation (where you can find us too!) thinks is cool. He’s our next guest dad blogger in our Dads Dig This series.

As if I thought size equated with cool, I’ve populated my life with collections that compete with my children for space in our small house: record albums, books, and typewriters. And anything I can do to make these old things relevant to my modern life I’ll try; I’ve transferred records into MP3s and I read constantly to my kids.

But finding a modern application for the typewriters has been tough. That is, until I opened a YouTube link six months ago and saw Jack Zylkin click-clacking away on his USB Typewriter.

Zylkin is part of Philadelphia makers co-op Hive76, and he figured out that if you put sensors on a typewriter’s spring-loaded crossbar, you can
translate the machine’s manual action onto your computer.

For $69, you can buy a DIY USB typewriter kit from Zylkin (I swear after my kids go to college and I get a free weekend I’m doing this) or you can get a turnkey, ready-to-go typewriter-iPad combo starting at $799.

Once I do get my USB/typewriter going, I’ll finally stop suffering and write that novel. Because surely it’s only the lack of the key-smacking noise and that satisfying swing of the carriage return that’s kept me from doing it. -Scott Adler

Bring your own typewriter back to life with Zylkin’s DIY USB typewriter kit, or purchase your own at USB Typewriter on Etsy.

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.

1 Comment

  • Reply January 7, 2011


    If my husband reads this blog, it will take a lot to convince him that I didn’t write it. The only thing missing to the books, album and typewriter collection is my newest item……phonographs.

    I’ve found my writing is lacking creativity now that I use a computer. Often, I pull out my typewriter and plug away…….feeling that ribbon of creativity begin to flow through me.

    I will soooooo be getting my USB/typewriter going……..once the kids are away at college! ;-)

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