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Increasing qualifications for typists… to 40 wpm…

Wikipedia notes, “An average professional typist types usually in speeds of 43 to 80 wpm, while some positions can require 80 to 95 (usually the minimum required for dispatch positions and other time-sensitive typing jobs), and some advanced typists work at speeds above 120 wpm.” I recall that, in the 1980s, at least 60 or 70 words per minute was the minimum requirement. What is your recollection?

The Phonetic Journal (London), February 13, 1892 –

© 2022, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Steve Tillett July 13, 2022, 10:12 pm

    I’m so glad I took typing in high school.
    I joined the Coast Guard in 1966 and they sent me to radio school. I had to be able to type at least 35 wpm to be able to
    copy Morse code and pass the school.
    If I did not know how to type I would have had to learn in a short time to pass.
    I made it through school and spent the rest of my four year hitch copying code
    messages on my pair of Underwood telegrapher’s mills.
    Typing skills really saved my bacon during my CG enlistment.
    I still love typing and typewriters. I have 25 machines from 1930 to 1985.
    Thanks for a great posting.

    • Mark Adams July 14, 2022, 7:53 pm

      Fascinating! My typing speed was measured on an electric typewriter, the IBM Selectric. I typed fast, but noticeably slower on a manual. It would be interesting to read a narrative of your work in the Coast Guard.

      • Steve Tillett July 24, 2022, 9:21 pm

        Here are some memories of working as a radioman in the CG. In the last weeks of basic training a petty officer asked what I did in the civilian world. I told him that I worked at the telephone company , so , he naturally thought that being a radioman would be the perfect thing for me.
        I went to radioman school in Groton, Connecticut for about nine months. School consisted of learning
        Morse code, procedures on sending and receiving messages, typing practice and lots of practice sending and receiving messages. After the school I was sent to Honolulu, Hawaii. Luckily I ended up at the Coast Guard Honolulu radio station. I stayed there for the remainder of my four obligation.
        The radio shack was out in the middle of a big navy communications center in Wahiawa, a little town in the middle of the island of Oahu. We had our own little space for our radio shack. The shack was about 25’ x 35’ in size. There were three stations where the communication was all done in Morse code. Plus, there were two booths for voice communication. Each station had two typewriters. One for keeping a log of what you heard on the frequencies you guarded and one for writing down messages being sent to you. The stations guarded a “calling and distress” frequency. We would frequently get messages from commercial vessels sending location and weather info. But, a big part was listening for distress calls. There were enough of those over the three years I was there to keep things interesting. Commercial vessels with crew members injured, fishermen trapped on rocks, sail boats in distress and the like. We were on watch for about 8-10 hours each day when we were on duty.
        We used our typewriters all the time while on watch. You had to make entries in the log every five minutes indicating what we had heard on the frequencies we guarded. The machines, as I recall were Underwood telegrapher’s mills. I do not remember them ever needing to be repaired. There certainly was not anyone who came by to service them the entire time I was there. We probably put in new ribbons but that was it. They were very sturdy machines.
        Once again, very glad I learned how to type in high school. Looking back I really enjoyed being in the Coast Guard.
        If anyone has questions I will be happy to try and answer them.
        Thanks, Steve

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