ERNEST HEMINGWAY AT HIS UNDERWOOD TYPEWRITER, WHICH, IF HE WERE STILL ALIVE, WOULD HAVE TO BE SERVICED AT VERO TYPEWRITER. IN FACT, VERO TYPEWRITER HAS THE SAME MODEL IN IT’S SHOWROOM, PICTURED BELOW IN AN APPROPRIATE BLACK AND WHITE IMAGE.
And Margaret Mitchell, too, who wrote “Gone with the Wind,” would have had to come to Vero Typewriter to service her Remington.
Margaret Mitchell with her Remington Portable, the same model available at Vero Typewriter, shown below, also in an appropriate black and white image.
Surely you have seen this sign on Route US-1 driving back and forth from Vero Beach, FL to Fort Pierce, FL. Has it ever raised your curiosity?
(It so happens, June 23 is World Typewriter Day, the anniversary of the granting of the U.S. patent to Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868.)
In fact Vero Typewriter is thriving. About 50% of their business comes from selling typewriters and 50% comes from servicing them.
But don’t rush over there to try and sell them your grandmother’s typewriter because they have an extensive inventory. Rush over to buy one or have your’s serviced.
This article is going to be fun because we want to share with you the some of the types of typewriters Vero Typewriter has for sale and information on who still uses them and why they use them. And a few words on how you can connect a typewriter to an iPad.
To begin with, typewriters allow people to do things that computers and printers cannot.
You can’t use a computer and a printer to print a recipe on an index card, or if you are older with wobbly penmanship to send correspondence on a note or postcard. Funeral homes use them for death certificates. Prison inmates use them instead of computers for correspondence. Police officials use them for certain forms that have not yet been digitized.
In Vero Beach, Sims Crane & Equipment Co. uses a Smith Corona to put how many 1,000 pounds each crane is certified for on sticky labels. Computers and printers can’t deal with the sticky labels, magic markers smudge and besides, they need to make an indentation on the sticky labels.
A dentist in Sebastian uses an IBM Selectric III to type labels for client’s charts.
A lawyer’s office in Vero Beach uses an IBM Wheelwriter 1500 typewriter with which you can store your most used forms, letter formats and phrases so your work gets processed quickly.
Vero Typewriter is owned by Tiffany and Eddie Nugent, who took over the business from Eddie’s father Frank Nugent, who opened the business in 1969 at 60th Street and 34th Avenue. In 1976 he relocated the business to it’s current location at 1445 US-1 Vero Beach. They are very passionate about their business and it’s history.
Tiffany and Eddie Nugent
Prior to opening Vero Typewriter Eddie’s’s father worked for IBM servicing their Selectric I, II and III typewriters which replaced the original IBM electric typewriter introduced in 1930. The first Selectric was introduced in 1961.
IBM’s original electric typewriter, once again introduced in 1930, now for sale at Vero Typewriter
But in 1961 IBM introduced the Selectric typewriter, where, “instead of the ‘basket’ of individual typebars that swung up to strike the ribbon and page in a traditional typewriter, the Selectric had a type element (frequently called a ‘type ball,’ or more informally, a ‘golf ball’) that rotated and pivoted to the correct position before striking.” (Wikipedia)
Selectric type ball
While Eddie indicates approximately 80% of his customers are over the age of 65, he has been selling typewriters to college students who use iPads and Smartphones, not only for the novelty of it, but as author Drew Millard wrote on March 13, 2015: “young Americans use typewriters too, offering a tactile sensation. Many argue that taking a record out of its sleeve, carefully placing it on a turntable, and positioning the needle over a groove offers a completely different experience than simply ‘pressing’ play on a song. One might argue that the physical sensation of pushing down a key and watching words take shape on a piece of paper in front of you jogs different parts of you brain than sitting and churning out words into a Google doc.”
Hermes Model 3000
Recently three young women who had read a book written by a 12 year old German girl who used a Hermes Model 3000 to write about how to solve mysteries came into Vero Typewriter to buy three. The Hermes 3000 was introduced in 1958 and is referred to as a typewriter that many revere as the most luscious ever created; a dream machine that came in such spiffy colors as minty green or lustrous ivory.
Fortunately Vero Typewriter had three, plus the one above which is still available.
BBC News, in a recent article quoted Tom Furrier, who owns a typewriter repair shop in Arlington, Massachusetts: “Young people or the under-30 crowd, [as] I call them, have grown up with this new technology and never experienced analogue toys and games. They are fascinated by the sensory feedback they get. The feel, the sound, seeing the printed image, immediately amazes them.”
In terms of those people over 65 who come in for typewriter repairs, Frank says: “They have had them for 40 years or more and when something breaks they treat it like their car. It is though they look as it as their form of transportation.”
One older women wanted one to type while sitting at the beach.
Here is an IBM Selectric III being repaired.
Here is an old Remington that needs a new roller, called a “Platen.” A Platen is the cylindrical roller in a typewriter against which the paper is held.
There are only two places in the U.S. that manufacture platens. Here is the new one to be installed with its rollers.
Here is a type writer that prints on a ledger, or book. The ledger is below the type writer.
Then, of course, after you have bought your typewriter you can round out your purchase with one of these tools to erase your text and sweep it clean.
Here’s something that will may surprise you. Every library in St. Lucie County, Florida has at least two typewriters. There are five libraries that have a total of 14 typewriters.
Fort Pierce Branch Library
Vero Typewriter services all the typewriters once a year and at the last library Eddie serviced, he said there was a 12-13 year old girl using one.
At one time there were approximately 14 companies producing typewriters:
- L.C. Smith
- Which became Smith Corona,
- Which Corona
Olivetti, based in Brazil, appears to be the last remaining typewriter manufacturer, servicing Latin America where electricity is sometimes not a guarantee.
And did you know you can connect an iPad to a typewriter?
Although this typewriter and iPad are not in their showroom, Vero Typewriter can help you do it.
There are two ways to connect your iPad to your Typewriter.
Method 1: Simply connect a USB cable to your iPad, using Apple’s proprietary USB adapter, which they call the “USB Camera Adapter”.
Method 2: Put your USB Typewriter into Bluetooth mode, and then allow it to connect to your iPad over Bluetooth.
And then, although not a typewriter or an app sold by Vero Typewriter, actor Tom Hanks and Hitcents have recreated the experience of a manual typewriter with a new app, Hanx Writer, that recreates the experience of a manual typewriter, but with the ease and speed of an iPad. Hanx Writer reflects the look, feel, and sound of old-fashioned word-processing while embracing a few new-fashioned luxuries (like the DELETE key!).
Personal letters, thank-you notes, office memos, to-do lists, and rough drafts of story pages come alive with the individualism only a typewriter can create.
Perhaps typewriters are the wave of the future.