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working in offices before computers

(88 Posts)
mercurymaze Fri 17-Nov-17 20:42:14

I have started a new job (am 48) and realise how hard this job would be without word processing. how hard it would be to just type amendments after amendments....

my first job was using a manual typewriter, was joyous to discover a daisy wheel and a typewriter than you could type in a line and it would type it out..

the joy of wordperfect and f keys!

now it's just standard but bloody hell we've come a long way in 28 years.

maddiemookins16mum Fri 17-Nov-17 20:46:58

No more Tippex or carbon paper.

katymac Fri 17-Nov-17 20:51:18

And copying data by hand onto pay sheets then the rush to do the overtime sheets

Passmethecrisps Fri 17-Nov-17 20:54:52

I recall starting my promoted position 15 years ago. The job required me to send letters to various people externally and memos to staff internally and at the time I had to do all of this on paper. so I would write out my memo on my memo pad and walk down to the office with it. They would then type it up and it would be ready to send the next day probably.

I spoke to the head of admin at the time to ask was it ok if I typed my own letters and memos and, wait for it, emailed them to the admin team.

It was an absolute revolution.

katymac Fri 17-Nov-17 20:57:14

& the boss that you had to print his emails out so he could read them, hand write a reply on the bottom which was then typed & emailed back

Invisimamma Fri 17-Nov-17 21:04:02

I’m a 90s kid so I don’t remember any of the above but I do remember my mum making me get off the internet because she needed to use the phone shock, paying per minute for painfully slow dial up internet and text messages costing 10p each!

Having to go to the library to find out information or looking in the local paper!

My ds7 didn’t even know what a landline phone was until a few months ago (we don’t have one).

drspouse Fri 17-Nov-17 21:04:49

When I started university I was the only person on my course who used a typewriter (electric, no less). The tutors really appreciated not having to read my writing.
And slides were, well, slides.

PurplePillowCase Fri 17-Nov-17 21:11:39

ah yes, slides (with hand drawn corrections)

custarddinosaur Fri 17-Nov-17 21:16:25

A switchboard with actual switches, no mobile phones, no fax machine, no laptops, no emails, no internet. We did have a photocopier though, which we had to ask permission to use. A computer terminal which sat in the corner (bank branch) which was attached to the bank's head office mainframe by telephone dial-up. Huge long computer printouts with holes down the side that came by post and had to be checked manually. Manual adding machines with a pull-down fruit machine-style handle, handwritten ledgers. Memo pads galore & internal mail envelopes tied up with loops of string. A typing pool - we weren't allowed tippex in the bank for some reason so the typists had to be accurate or do the whole thing again!

HeddaGarbled Fri 17-Nov-17 21:23:22

We used to dictate all our letters and memos into a dictaphone, then put the cassette on top of the pile of folders and drop the bundle off at the typing pool. It'd come back either later that day or the next day for signing and sending.

When we all got PCs, we were told we had to do our own letters etc. It caused quite a stir! Some of the older men never really got to grips with it and used to get the junior staff to do it for them.

PoshPenny Fri 17-Nov-17 21:29:40

Tippex papers for when you made a mistake on a typewriter...
the ads for wang trained WP operators hahaha

lamettarules Fri 17-Nov-17 21:33:44

I worked briefly in Peterborough in a building where Pearl Insurance were also based on a different floor .

In the typing pool ( ! ) the typists had their work measured with a ruler to determine their output and pay .

DropZoneOne Fri 17-Nov-17 21:38:19

I did some temping after my a-levels. One job was to type out orders onto triplicate sheets using a manual type writer. There were bottles of white, yellow and pink tipped for correcting mistakes! Something that would take 5 minutes now used to take 20 because I had to be pain stakingly accurate.

ChinkChink Fri 17-Nov-17 21:38:25

The dreaded Banda machine. Teeline shorthand. Carbon copies in typewriters and having to Tippex strip every single error on every single copy.

Mind, having touch typing lessons has been the most useful skill I've learned, and I still touch type and much, much faster than my computer generation colleagues.

JJBurnelsBass Fri 17-Nov-17 21:42:21

Overflowing ashtrays by one's typewriter!

goose1964 Fri 17-Nov-17 21:45:19

Filing, you could bigger an office for days by misfiling something

HeadDreamer Fri 17-Nov-17 21:47:45

How fast does things change! I’m 43 and I have never worked in am office without a computer. I remember electronic type writers and apple 2e we had at home though.

JJBurnelsBass Fri 17-Nov-17 21:48:57

Phone directories, Yellow Pages, dictionaries

badbadhusky Fri 17-Nov-17 21:51:01

My ds7 didn’t even know what a landline phone was until a few months ago (we don’t have one).

I had to show my sons how to dial a number on an analogue phone in a kids’ hands-on museum area (yes!) a few years ago.

oldlaundbooth Fri 17-Nov-17 21:52:25

I think people talked and probably shagged their colleagues a lot more. Now we just moan online

pootlepootle Fri 17-Nov-17 21:55:22

Ping Pong internal memos.

you asked the question on one half and the other department answered it on the other half. it had carbon so you both kept a record of it.

SueGeneris Fri 17-Nov-17 21:58:02

When I was about 20, I worked as a temporary secretary for a summer in a law firm where they had yet to instal computers. One of the partners had one on his desk. Admin staff used electronic typewriters. This was in 96 or 97 so they were a bit behind the times. Anyhow, while I was working there my electronic typewriter caught fire so it was agreed that we'd bring the computer down to the admin room and I would reach the other secretaries how to use Word etc. All fine.

Before I left, however, I assigned sound effects from the Jungle Sounds menu in Word to as many menu functions as I could think of. So doing simple regular commands like opening and closing and saving files would set off lions, gorillas etc. I wonder if they ever worked out how to switch them off.

Chilver Fri 17-Nov-17 21:59:26

I just wonder what managers DID all day? If they weren't emailing or working through spreadsheets, what were they filling their time with? i imagine a typing pool or accountants were actually manually running the numbers and reports for them?

PurplePillowCase Fri 17-Nov-17 22:04:06

I still wonder what (some) managers DO all day, tbh

katmarie Fri 17-Nov-17 22:04:09

When I first started working for the civil service we still had a typing pool. This was in 2000. It was kept occupied by a group of about 6 staff who were on the brink of retirement, they’d send down their handwritten letters, and back they’d come the next day. They all retired eventually, and when the last one went, so did the typing pool.

Incidentally all 6 had desktop computers, one guy retired and IT turned up to refresh his pc for the next user, only to discover that it had never been switched on other than by IT when they originally installed it!

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