A Contessa never looked so sweet (or clacked so loudly). typewriter

A Contessa never looked so sweet (or clacked so loudly).

Who doesn’t love a typewriter?

Well, the world, apparently. As a whole, things may look bad for this most useful of tools.

But as individuals, many of us maintain a soft spot in our hearts for the clatter of the lettered keys. For in a digital world, it’s a blast to recall how much we once actually used our digits in a tactile way.

I got to thinking about that in February when I read a terrific essay titled “The Last of the Typewriter Men.” It tells the tale of New Yorker Paul Schweitzer and his everyday battle to help ever-older typewriters to function well.

On this Change of Venue Friday, I wonder if you, like me, still have a typewriter around the home or office.

I still hear from folks that an IBM Selectric is kept handy for the occasional envelope. Having struggled to feed an individual envelope through a printer/copier, or to waste a sheet of labels to print one label, I will cast no stones on that vintage approach; they may be on to something.

In our own home, we have an old typewriter, though it is not the one I used throughout college and grad school (that was a bright-orange Contessa, which looked identical to the one I posted above).

At home—and purely so our daughters could try their hand at the faded-away technology—we have a vintage Royal. Here it is:

Our Royal typewriter at home

Our Royal typewriter at home

Well, when you have a typewriter, you end up knowing one of the remaining typewriter men (or women). And ours happens to be in Mesa, at the Mesa Typewriter Exchange.

Bill Wahl (the “man”) won a Phoenix New Times Best Place to Find a Typewriter a few years back. (I don’t think they’ve included the category since, or I’m sure he’d sweep it.)

If you’re ever in need of a vintage machine, or to have your own repaired, he’s at 30 S. MacDonald St., Mesa, AZ 85210 (480-964-3603).

You may already know Bill’s work from a few news programs over the years. Here, enjoy watching Robin Sewell’s interview with Bill for Arizona Highways TV:

And here you’ll find a few more stories about the Mesa store, via CBS Sunday Morning News and NBC Nightly News.

Have a great—and finger-exercising—weekend.

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