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A Pencil for Your Thoughts

October 6, 2010

I used a pencil yesterday.

It was the first time I had used one in a long, long time.  In fact the last time I probably used a pencil was to mark the wall when I wanted to hang a picture and needed to pinpoint where the nail should be placed.

As I followed the twitter stream of the HR Technology Conference last week and read numerous blog posts about the conference,  I naturally thought about the shiny, nifty systems and gadgets that we use in an attempt to make our jobs easier.    Needless to say, the road towards efficiency is littered with the carcasses of once-upon-a-time essential office tools:

  • The pink “While You Were Out” telephone message pads.  And the carousel message holder, with staff members’ names affixed, in which one deposited the scribbled telephone messages.  (Note – adhesive stickers could be easily removed when Bob left the company and Janice replaced him).
  • Carbon paper.
  • The white ceramic envelope/stamp moistener.  Complete with reservoir to hold water which splashed, evaporated, and ultimately became an office petri dish of living, frightening, organisms.
  • Adding machines.
  • The typewriter.   And I’m not talking about those fancy ones with the data storage and built-in correction tape.
  • The rubber finger tip.

While I send phone messages to colleagues via email and use self-adhesive postage stamps, I do admit to a continuing fondness for the Canon typewriter in our office.  I find it much more efficient to type envelopes and labels on the Canon rather than walking to the shared printer, loading envelopes and labels manually (lack of trays), and then informing all my office mates to refrain from printing lest they want their documents to print on an envelope.

So I’ll take a #2.  With an eraser please.

What are some of your favorite long lost office supplies/gadgets?  Is there anything you continue to use (or do) that is totally old-skool?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2010 7:22 am

    Do you remember the mimeograph machine? It was a nice way to ruin clothes by getting ink all over them when you had to change the stencil. I also like the gadget that cut the square holes in the paper and then let you bind them with the curly little plastic coils.

    I used to love using these things as I listend to my 8-track tapes.

  2. Jonathan Krass permalink
    October 6, 2010 7:46 am

    On a regular visit to a client, I stopped by their payroll department. I saw one of those check imprinting machines that banks use – you know, you punch the numbers in, put the check stock in the slot, and crank the handle down, and voila – you have a check with numbers/words imprinted. It was still in regular use by the company – an old fashioned bank.

  3. Tricia permalink
    October 6, 2010 11:06 am

    I still vividly remember at one job teaching my assistant (who was a 20-something) how to use a typewriter because she had never used one in her life. I was amazed!! She had only been taught how to type and use a computer. She had no idea how to turn on, type an envelope or anything. Now….me on the other hand I was taught on an old antique manual typewriter. I still have it and love the fact that my mom taught me how to type the old-fashioned way!

  4. October 6, 2010 2:41 pm

    I use an adding machine and a pencil every day at work without fail. Our HR Manager uses the rubber finger on a regular basis, and I make a joke like I’m 12 every single time I see her using one.

    We only drag the typewriter out once a year to do the summary sheet to the IRS for our 1099s, because our program doesn’t spit that out on laser automatically.

    Accounting is sexy.

  5. ggmckinney permalink
    October 6, 2010 10:07 pm

    I have to admit when my outlook doesn’t come up fast enought and my iphone is across the room on a charger I still use my paper roladex. It’s always on, never needs charging, doesn’t even crash unless I picked it up and dropped it. My 20 something assistant thinks it’s a waste of space until she needs a phone number.

  6. Robin Schooling permalink*
    October 7, 2010 6:47 am

    @Dave – nothing like inhaling mimeograph pages fresh off the machines

    @Jonathan – wow – that’s almost as old-skool as “writing” the check

    @Tricia – yup; I learned on an old manual “clackety clackety” one

    @Teresa – y’all are setting the world on fire with those sophisticated technologies

    @Gretchen – BTDT; still be LUVIN’ my rolodex too

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