Many of those machines didn't even have a power cord.
Typewriters were, by and large, rather ugly contraptions. Some were as heavy as boat anchors. Even the portable ones weighed at least five pounds. Some required you to have either very powerful fingers or a very small hammer. None of them came with a Save, Insert, or Delete option. If you made a mistake or didn't like your first draft, you had two choices: start over fresh, or end up with one ink-splotched, marked-up, Wite-Out-encrusted mess.
Yet, we loved them, these noisy, intransigent machines, and the reams of ruined pages spilling out of our waste-paper baskets and piling up around our feet. We especially loved the fact that, until the crumpled pages were discarded for good, nothing we wrote was lost forever. (Try that after deleting several paragraphs or pages from your computer. As Hemingway once said, you’ll never get it back.)
It was easy to fall under the hypnotic spell of the rhythmic tappa-tappa-tappa of keys hitting the platen, the sound of words flowing from mind to fingers to page. And that’s where the real magic was.
The effect was not limited to the person at the keyboard. The wife of a writer I once knew said that listening to her husband at work behind a closed door was the most comforting sound in the world to her. She also knew how things were going just by the sound of his typing: irregular bursts intermingled with tyrannical pauses (bad); tentative pecking (his “people” weren't talking to him); machine-gun fire (good); dead silence (stay away and be afraid).
In a manner somewhat similar to writing a first draft by hand, the typewriter makes you pause and think. You have to be aware of several things at once: what you want to say, anticipating the little ding! as you reach the end of the line (there was no automatic word-wrap, either), and what was once referred to as “end-of-page anxiety” (being mindful of not typing past the bottom margin or the edge of the sheet). Juggling all three of these balls, in combination with the actual sound of your writing (or noise or music; take your pick) heightens your awareness and engages several of your senses at once. Inevitably, the stories you write on a typewriter will be different from the ones you write by hand, or on your Mac or PC.
Talk to people who learned to type in the olden days—before 1980. Ask them about their typewriters. You’re bound to hear some great stories.