|Typewriters have been in use since the early 1870s.
Because of the wear and tear caused from continuous daily use,
exposure to the environment such as heat, humidity, dust, paper and
ribbon fiber, typewriters have always had to be attended to, or
serviced by, a trained or knowledgeable person.
In the early years of the typewriter, the operator was expected
to keep the machine in good operating condition. Many typewriters
came with cleaning kit, or at least instructions to show the
operator how to keep the machine free of dust and dirt, while at the
same time keeping it well oiled. As the typewriter industry grew and
more dealerships began to appear, trained service men started
maintaining and servicing these writing machines for the end user.
I started repairing typewriters in 1966, when I worked for Yukon
Office Supply in Anchorage, Alaska. The machine I first learned to
repair was the Royal manual typewriter, model FP. To this day, I'm
more comfortable typing on a old Royal manual typewriter than any
In 1970, I acquired three old manual typewriters, from Jack
Whitliff, a retired office machine dealer in Astoria, Oregon. jack
just gave them to me, for helping him clean out his old stores
basement. This is when the "BUG" hit me. One of the
machines was a Blickensderfer #7, one was a Smith Premier #2, and
the third was a Remington #7 understrike typewriter. This "mini"
collection was the springboard that propelled me into antique
typewriter repair and collecting.
By 1977, I had opened my own office machine business, (which
continues to this day) and continued to collect and repair many
types of old mechanical machines. For many years I only collected
and repaired for myself, because I thought I was the only typewriter
collector that existed. Gradually, I made contact with other
collectors, and because none of them did any repairs of their own, I
started servicing their machines too.
Over the years I have managed to accumulate over 1800
typewriters, some of which are my private collection, some I use for
reference when I need to completely dis-assemble a typewriter for
restoration, and the remainder I use for parts machines.
For many, many years now it has been impossible to call or write
a typewriter manufacturer and order parts for typewriters
older than 1960, (given a very few exceptions, such as Smith Corona
and IBM). During the past 30 some years, I have tried to keep every
old black or unusual typewriter that came my way. A good many of my
parts machines were made before the turn of the century, and way
before the sinking of the Titanic. Some of the machines that I
repair/restore are almost one of a kind, and parts for them are not
readily available, if not next to impossible to find. When I have a
rare machine that needs parts, I search other collectors "boneyards"
for them. When there is no hope left, and the machine warrants the
repair, I will have a machinist or casting professional make it for
Typewriter service/restore cost can range from just a few dollars
to a large sum of money, depending on the extend of work, time and
parts involved. Do not let any repair scare you off from saving that
old family treasure or rare flea market find, until you've called or
e-mailed me and we've had an opportunity to discuss the machine's
I also purchase old typewriters, working or not, and would be
happy to discuss any machine you may wish to sell.