You know time is moving fast when an electric typewriter is an item in a historical society collection.
The Town of Huntington recently donated an electric Brother typewriter to the Northport Historical Society. While not exactly an antique — it’s about 10 years old — it will serve as a hands-on tool connecting children to the not-so-distant past and something that was a precursor to something they use regularly to get ideas on paper: a keyboard and printer.
Historical society director Andrea Miller said she and her staff had been on the lookout for an electric typewriter for younger visitors to the society.
“When we do our scout and educational programs, the children have a lot of questions about our typewriter we have from 1910,” Miller said. “But they can’t touch it, so we kept thinking we needed to find an electric typewriter, so they could.”
Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia said that the historical society loans her office a lot of items for exhibits and that at some point someone in her office told her the society needed a typewriter that worked.
“I was asked do we have an extra typewriter and I said, ‘Sure, let’s find one that really works well,’ ” Raia said.
Raia said her office still uses typewriters for issuing shellfish permits, death certificates, domestic partnership registrations and birth certificates.
Miller said the typewriter is a welcome addition to the society’s collection, adding that the society has a Victrola, but it does not pique the childrens' interest like the antique typewriter.
“One of the things they really talk and ask about is the typewriter,” Miller said. “Maybe it’s because they use a keyboard.”
The town board voted 5-0 at its Sept. 17 meeting to approve the donation.
“We will have it plugged in with paper; I can’t wait to hear the tap, tap, tap of children using this tool from the past,” Miller said. “We have so many things here that children cannot touch, so the fact they can touch it and type on it and see the letters on a piece of paper, I know it will be interesting for them.”
No word yet on whether they understand that the typewriter needs a ribbon.