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Typewriters Strike The Right Keys With Collectors

Hubby and I often laugh at what “kids today” don’t know or even recognize anymore—any kids, perhaps, other than our kids.

Our kids live with and use such charmingly antiquated (seemingly obsolete) items such as rotary dial telephones, film cameras, phonographs and tape players (including 8-track players), and even typewriters.  Last summer, my son scored his first vintage typewriter—using what his momma taught him, he negotiated this 1970s era Royal Sprite for the price of just $1.

I was reminded, again, of just how cool and ahead of the collecting curve we are when I read Karen Croke’s article stating that vintage typewriters have become collector’s items for the digital generation:

“Vintage typewriters are not just sought after by older folks nostalgic for a blast from their past, either. People in their 20s and early 30s, says Gilbert, love the old machines for a number of reasons. “Younger collectors buy the vintage typewriter both for its functionality and its looks. They love to see the typewriter sitting right next to their iPad and iPod.”

It’s not just those who like to collect antique office equipment either; some folks like to use their typewriters. Croke’s article continues:

Apparently, people still type, too. “They find that on a typewriter you really have to think. Then, too, there are no distractions with a typewriter. You sit down to type and that’s it,” Gilbert says. “You can’t get distracted with Twitter, Facebook or email. The simplicity of the machine is appealing.”

Of course, there’s a way to deal with those distractions, as any old typing instructor can tell you.

But back to Croke’s article:

Paness, the owner of A World of Fax & Typewriters in Nanuet, says he has seen an uptick in customers calling for both repair and refurbishing of manual and electric machines. “People have them for show, but others definitely use them. You’d be surprised,” he says…

“These are not collectors,” says Paness. “They’re people who have never stopped using typewriters; they’re typing on a day-to-day basis.” Paness says it’s almost essential to have a typewriter for doing three-part forms, single envelopes and filling out forms that are not on a computer.

It may not be the practicality which entices and delights my children, but rather the instant gratification. Put a piece of paper in, and whack-ety-tap-tap, there you go—the written, typed, word.

Of course, they aren’t concerned with typos or even good old fashioned spelling errors or anything of the sort. They just, well, do what kids do.

Though I do dream of a day when any one of our three will create typewriter art (the precursor to ASCII art), right now this mom would settle for her kids to just type her a letter.

If you’ve got a typewriter (or dozens), check out Typewriters Around the World, Frank De Freitas‘ site devoted not only to showcasing typewriters but in showing off the typewriter’s typefaces or fonts too by encouraging collectors to send in typed letters along with their photographs.

But don’t forget to send a typed letter to your mom too; she hasn’t heard from you in awhile. Plus, we love the physical objects our kids make. We keep them in special desk drawers and shoe boxes and what not …And remember, typewriter art can always be displayed on the fridge too.


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