The sound of keys clacking is not the only sound at Los Altos Typewriter and Business Machines. The cash register is also clanging merrily through an economic downturn. At Los Altos and many typewriter shops around the country, the old reliable typewriter is making a comeback.

There are lots of reasons to love typewriters; much of it is just the feel of the machine underneath your fingertips. Or the comforting sound of the keys. Many writers (especially poets) feel it helps their creative process. Some just love the machines because they never need upgrading and they don't lose their value. Imagine if your word processor never needed to be upgraded and didn't ever pretend it was a paperclip, who talked. Are you starting to feel the love too?

Best of all, say typewriter proponents, you can see the "journey"; all the things you've written and x-ed out. And if you're in that classic place, with your many false starts crumpled up in your wastepaper basket, you can always go back and smooth them out. No crashing, no losing either what you've done or what you've done, and then decided against.

Will a slow economy continue to inspire sales of machines whose value we can hold, feel, hear? I like the sound of that.

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