YouTube is full of videos of teens and twenty-somethings confusedly poking the dial on old rotary phones, or struggling to get a Game Boy to recognise screen taps. The same thing’s going to happen with Lego’s new lavishly detailed typewriter model. “It’s a laptop, with a paper screen?”
As with many of the sets that seem to break the Lego mould of mostly churning out playsets based on popular films and TV shows (remember the playable grand piano?) the new 2,079-piece typewriter came out of the Lego Ideas program where fans can submit custom builds and if they achieve 10,000 votes of support from the Lego community, the company considers turning them into an actual set through an elaborate review process.
The new Typewriter set was originally conceived by Steve Guinness from Chester, UK, but the official version of their set only looks loosely based on the original, which you can still see here on the Lego Ideas site.
One of the reasons for all the changes, including the 1950s-accurate green finish, is that Lego claims the official model was also inspired by an old-fashioned typewriter used by the company’s founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen. So there’s some historical significance to all the changes. Functionally, however, a lot of Guinness’s original ideas for the model have been carried through. The centre typebar rises every time one of the keyboard keys is pressed (which all feature printed designs, thankfully, no stickers) while the carriage moves from right to left until it needs to be manually slid back across for the next line of text. Users can even feed a real piece of paper into the platen roller, although the felt black and white ribbon strip isn’t soaked with ink, so you can’t actually type out a message.
Even Lego realises that by now a typewriter is ancient technology and suggests the model could be used to “Spark nostalgic feelings and the curiosity of younger fans who have never seen a typewriter before.” That might not quite be enough to justify the $329.99 price tag for when this set arrives on July 1, but the level of detail included makes this look like an especially enjoyable build.