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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