When Jack Zylkin found a clunky old Royal typewriter on the curb outside his apartment, it started a chain of events which led to his invention of the USB typewriter. He cleaned and restored the old Royal using the shared tools and supplies at Hive76, Philadelphia’s only community hackerspace which Zylkin helped found after graduating from Drexel University with a degree in electrical engineering.


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Using the typewriter for writing was refreshing to him as there was no frenetic flicker of a screen, no distracting messages popping up, no impulse to check his email, and there was a satisfying feel to typing on a real, physical piece of paper. Zylkin states on his usbtypewriter.com About Page:

“Each time I sat down in front of this machine, I was transfixed: despite the exciting clatter of the keys, whirr of the carriage and ding of the bell, I found a sublime inner focus that made me feel more creative, centered, and mindful.”

Zylkin continued to keep the community in mind when he went on to develop his business. He goes on to say: “Instead of patenting and mass-producing my invention, I decided to release the designs as an open source project. That way, I could help people all over the world rescue typewriters from garages and attics, and put these beautifully intricate pieces of technology to use again.”

More info: Etsy

You can use the typewriter as your computer keyboard, or type on paper and simultaneously save your work to the built-in SD Card memory.

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Underwood Champion USB Typewriter

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Charcoal Underwood Universal USB Typewriter

1930s Underwood Standard Portable USB Typewriter

1930s Underwood Model F USB Typewriter

1930s Underwood Model F with Glass Keys USB Typewriter

This is the model that Jack Kerouac used to write On the Road.

DIY USB Typewriter Conversion Kit

If you have your own typewriter that you want to convert, this kit turns any typewriter into a USB computer keyboard, for use with any Mac, PC, or tablet.

This typewriter is available on Etsy