Typewriter repairer 1930 to 20??

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When he started in 1930, Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight was a fresh memory, Herbert Hoover was president, and the Empire State Building was under construction… Whitlock says that he has repaired around 300,000 typewriters in his career. The avocado IBM was job No. 300,001. “If you put the typewriters I’ve repaired end to end, it would take days to drive past them,” he boasts….

A 1910 Oliver is the oldest machine that Whitlock keeps in his shop today. Despite its ears, it is fairly conventional compared with other early typewriter designs. There was the Hammonia, Germany’s first writing machine, which looked like a bread-slicer. The Blickensderfer No. 5, which had keys that stuck out in all directions, making it look, in Whitlock’s words, “sort of like a centipede.” And, best of all, the Williams, which had a “grasshopper” type-action in which a jointed typebar kicked up, over, and down onto the platen roller.

Today, despite his former objections, Whitlock works mostly on electric and electronic typewriters (electrics are mechanical but run by a motor; electronics have computer chips). That’s all people bring. There isn’t any point in keeping manuals other than for decoration and company. […]

continue reading at the Christian Science Monitor

Typist sells tradition
January 23, 2007
Lea Yu, Staff Reporter

Whitlock’s Typewriter Shop is at 272 York St. After 77 years in business, Whitlock continues to reconcile tradition with technology, catering to a new clientele of Yale and New Haven button pushers…

“William Manchester wrote all his books on typewriters and would not let anyone else touch his typewriter,” Frost said. “When Manson moved his shop, Manchester wrote a note comparing him to Leonardo [da Vinci].” … Frost, who majored in computer science at Yale, now repairs computers instead of typewriters and instructs individual offices on computer troubleshooting. He said much of his success comes from applying the valuable work ethic he acquired while watching Whitlock manage his business.

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2 Responses to “Typewriter repairer 1930 to 20??”


  1. 1 Rhea 2007 April 26 at 4:31 pm

    There are just a few of these typewriter repair shops left. I hate to hear about these kinds of places closing.

  2. 2 vuee 2007 April 26 at 5:34 pm

    There used to be one behind the Rich Peoples Peniteniary (El Dorado Hotel) in Santa Fe, NM.

    You are right. These places, stationers, hardware stores (iron mongers), general stores, genuine book stores, the USA Woolworth’s (5 and Dime) etc. — all filled with wonderful stuff to spend hours perusing and learning from, don’t translate into Big Box stores.


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