About this blog

This blog is about the daily activities in a busy typewriter shop. I want to share with you the many interesting people who come in here, the beautiful machines I get and most of all the great typewriter stories that people share with me!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Teenagers and Typewriters

Thirteen tear old Emma checks out a Corona flattop

     Now, most people these days wouldn't put those two words in the same sentence. Around here, we do all the time. The neatest thing going on in the shop in recent years has been teenagers coming in and buying vintage portable manual typewriters. It started out as a handful of kids coming in over the summer seven or eight years ago and grew every year to the point that its no longer a trend. Parents started coming in and buying them as Christmas gifts and birthday presents for the kids. Its so funny watching some of the dads coming in with their kid, and he'll walk in with his head down and say  "I don't know why but for some reason  my kid wants a typewriter. What do you have." Then I'll glance over at the kid and give him a wink as he's gazing around the room in awe. 
     After awhile I started asking the teens that come in why they were interested in typing when they had their computers. I got lots of different answers but the most common ones were, its cool and different or its more fun than my computer. It took awhile to figure out but most teens don't think twice about typewriters. The ones coming in are the creative type of kids. That is the ones that are the future writers, artists, musicians, poets, actors, photographers, etc...
     I sell alot of vintage typewriters every year and over half of them are to teens. I include high school and college kids amoung them. They are dicovering that connection between typing are writing that older writers have always talked about. I for one, am very excited about young people becoming typewriter enthusiasts and I see many teens that are totally into it and started collecting typewriters.
     For me, nothing is more fun than watching a sixteen year old girl (or boy), picking out a old Corona or a shiney black 1930 Royal for their birthday present. Its fun to watch the process of them deciding which machine to buy as they line up six or seven machines that they like and slowly eliminate them down to two or three and then agonize over that final decision. Some kids imediately see the machine they want and its a easy choice. The best part are the killer smiles on their faces as they leave the shop with their new old typewriter. Its like Christmas morning all the time. I never get tired of that. Sometimes I'll get a phone call from a parent months later saying how much their daughter loves the machine and still types everyday. How cool is that!
     Many more teens are bring in their parents or grandparents typewriter or picking them up at garage or yard sales and getting them cleaned and tuned up to use. Older kids are getting them on Ebay. But they're finding them and using them in many different ways. My daughter has had a 1940's Royal Companion since she was seven and I can see her now typing up newsletters to friends and dinner menu's for the week for my wife and I. I wish I could post some of them, they're hysterical, but my daughter would kill me.
     I guess that there is still life left in those old clunkers after all. LONG LIVE TYPEWRITERS!

      Its been pretty busy at the shop this week. I got buried in repairs early in the week. So I've been chained to my bench all week trying to catch up. I had a perfect example of a before and after picture on a Burgandy Corona repair that came in on Monday and picked up on Friday. Check out the difference. Thats what we do around here, take beat up machines and make them fully functional and beautiful. I had some nice sales too. An older gentleman came in and bought his wife a beautiful Royal Model 10 for her birthday. That was sweet. Today I sold a Green Olympia SM 3 in mint condition to a man who was replacing a rusted out Olivetti Praxis. Great choice.
     My friend John is coming in tomorrow and bring in a L-32 in mint condition for me and more vintage typewriter ads. I've got to get a scanner so I can post some of these ads here because they are really cool. A lot of history in many of these and some are just plain funny. I've got close to a hundred of them now and sell them in the shop.

 Well, thats it for this week. Thanks for checking it out. Everybody have a great weekend!


  1. You've made my day. This gives me hope for the future of humankind.

  2. Great post.
    I really wish I lived closer to your shop.

  3. Yes, you totally made my day! You have one of the greatest jobs.

  4. That before and after with that Corona Sterling was absolutely stunning! I have no comments regarding teenagers and typewriters, considering I'm one of them!! It surely is cool to hand in your typewritten reports, and see the look of admiration on the teacher's face! One of my friends saw a report in the beginning of the year, and said, "Oh cool, you used a typewriter font?" And I said, "Nope. I used one of my typewriters." He instantly thought it was kick-ass. I always get comments on my Royal 10 whenever people see it when they come over to my house.

  5. This is so cool! I love to see typewriters making a come-back. Or, maybe for some, they didn't even go away.

    Do you ship them? I really want one fro Xmas.

  6. I love typewriters, especially a good SM-3. And to hear that more teenagers are learning to appreciate them is fantastic.

  7. Tom,

    This blog is an absolute delight. I've subscribed via my Google Reader, but wanted to mention that I've been reading typewriter related materials since receiving my Olivetti Valentine as a Christmas gift three years ago (which you tuned up for me - thank you!). Write on!

  8. This is great! I'm a teenager and I recently bought a Smith Corona Standard of the 1930s online. I can't wait to get it; it's my first typewriter. I love how much character they have and I hate how we're all becoming reliable on technology. I'd love to see your shop, shame I'm on the other side of the Atlantic!

  9. I have loved typewriters since I was 8--my dad bought me a circa-1968 Royal Safari at a thrift shop for $5. Over the last decade, I have accumulated a collection that I am quite proud of! (My personal favorite is my white SM-3 with dark green keytops.) I also love my 1934 Royal Model O, and my Brother typewriters, not to mention my personal favorite lightweight typewriter, the Royal Mercury (I have large hands, so a Hermes Baby is too small--I've tried...)
    I'm amazed at the difference a quarter inch can make to the comfort of a typewriter.

  10. I have a five year old. Any suggestions on the best typewriter for small hands? I've heard electric typewriter keys are easier to punch. I would like something easy to use & operate.

  11. I would love to go back to a typewriter, after 35 years on computer keyboards. However, the output from a typewriter is a dead end--it can't go anywhere electronic except through devices such as fax machines or scanners, which somewhat defeat the purpose of using a typewriter in the first place. Now, an electronic typewriter--that would be a great invention! Oh, they've got those. They're called computers.