From typing machine to computer

Marguerita, 70

When I was a student, I learned to use a typing machine and I utilized it rather regularly to type or modify documents. I knew rather well the handling of the machine and the various possibilities of pagination. I knew how to use “carbon paper” and other reproduction means such as “stencils”

When I began to work I was helped by a secretary. She was younger than me and just finishing school, she did not manage very well all possibilities of the machine. When I was giving her a work to do and when she was telling me that it was not possible to do it, I used to sit in her place and showed her how to do.

Then the computers came. If I asked the French telephone company to have a “Minitel” to begin to familiarize myself with it, it didn’t mean that I was really enthusiastic.

At the office, secretaries fallowed informatics classes and they were the first to have computers. When I asked a special document to my secretary and she replied that it was impossible to realize, I wasn’t able to tell her anything because of my lack of knowledge regarding computers.

Few moments later, our boss offered to managers to have a laptop. I was a bit panicked but I needed to understand what were the possibilities offered by these machines. So I volunteered to have one of these laptops. I was totally aware of the fact that if managers learnt how to use computers, it will conduct to the suppression of typists’ position.  I founded it unfortunate and dangerous because some of the employees were really good typists but didn’t have others skills. However, I accepted my laptop. My secretary and a colleague taught me how to use it. Then, I fallowed a training course. After a while, I was able to discuss with my secretary when she told me that a document wasn’t realizable and we were able to find a solution together.

These were my first contacts with a computer.