Humorous, Nostalgic and Unusual Typewriter Stories from Customers


Humorous, Nostalgic and Unusual Typewriter Stories from Customers


Overtime, the team at has collected some interesting stories. Some of which are humorous, nostalgic and even unusual. From a warehouse employee who made it his mission to help a woman find her father's lost Royal typewriter to a customer that used an alternative method to power their typewriter.  

Please find our collection of these stories below: 

Pat Griffin, Customer:

Kids That Like to Play with the Office's Typewriters

We have an IBM Selectric II, which I have worked on most of my adult years working in an office since 1976, until the computer age. However, our office today still has an IBM Selectric because it is just so much easier to type envelopes and labels. The only problem is when the guys bring their young kids to the office and they want to "play" on that old dinosaur. I have to turn it off and tell them it’s not working because they really cannot be fixed. We’ve gone through three here at the office … the one we have has lasted about 7 years, but is making faint noises indicating imminent demise. I talk to it every day. And tap lightly. 

Jim Riegert, Lead Typewriter Specialist, 

Hey, Was That Tom Hanks That Just Walked?

Four years ago, Hanks stopped by our facility in Tucker, Ga., to check out our extensive inventory of typewriters. Tom Hanks said that he liked collecting typewriters and just wanted to look around. He thought I had a lot of interesting things and ended up picking out a 1970s Smith Corona typewriter that I fixed up and sold to him. I didn't realize how passionate he was about typewriters to have the HanxWriter website. But he was just a nice, down-to-earth guy, and talked to everybody here, and walked in the back with the staff to check out the stock. It was an interesting experience. You can read more about Tom Hanks' passion for typewriters here.

Typewriter "Left On" for 20 Years

A couple of years ago, we sold a customer an IBM Personal Wheelwriter to replace the one she was using, which was broken. When it arrived, the customer called to explain that it would not turn on. We sent a replacement and she called again to let us know that it had no power. I knew this made no sense so I went through the usual routine. Is it plugged into an outlet that you know is good? Check. Does it do anything when you turn it on with the on/off switch? 

She said, “What on/off switch?” 

Turns out that in over 20 years, she had never turned the machine off and did not know that it had a switch. It was turned on that entire time. 

Sold a Smith Corona to the Late Margaret Ann Barnes 

We serviced the Smith Corona typewriter for the late Margaret Ann Barnes while she wrote “Murder in Coweta County." Incidentally, that was an outstanding made-for-TV movie.

Blue Selectric II on Exhibit in Ronald Reagan Museum

We sold an IBM Blue Selectric II that is on exhibit in the Air Force One in the Ronald Reagan Museum. You can even take a tour of the plane via this video

Microsoft Bought an IBM Wheelwriter 3500

We thought it was pretty ironic that one of the world's leading computer software firm's bought an IBM Wheelwriter 3500 just a few years ago!

Thank You, Now on Your Way, Sir

I sold a Reconditioned Selectric III to Augusta National Golf Club. I thought that I would deliver it myself and get to see the course. Unfortunately, they made me unload it at the gate and had me turn around and go on my way.

No Electricity, We'll Make It Work

I have an Amish customer in Kentucky that has an IBM Selectric. They can't use electricity to run it so they have the pulley hooked up to a mechanism that turns it via pedal power. 

Lisa G. Westheimer, Customer: 

For the Love of the Typewriter

Previously, I purchased ribbons and correction tape for my IBM Selectric from  My old beauty still works but it seems one thing or another fails every time I turn it on. I use it only a couple times a year, mainly it's a symbol of the life I used to have long ago in my former career typing forms in triplicate using carbon paper.  

How a Determined Young Warehouse Employee Found a Lost Gem

When my father died in 1999, my brother cleaned out my parent's house, having many things carted away before I or my mother could sign off on their disposal.  Two of these things were my father's typewriters, one a large manual Royal he used in his business, the other a portable Royal in a case.

I was frantic about the portable as my father had it all through his service in the Korean War, he typed correspondence on it for the Navy. I called the Salvation Army who took the discards and they put me in touch with their main warehouse in a run down neighborhood in Patterson, NJ. (This was in 1999, before the Internet and Google made searches such as these commonplace and easy) It took a lot of phone calls to track the shipment down.

I later got a call from a young man in the warehouse who had personally sifted through a mountain of cast offs. He took it personally that he just had to find my father's typewriter. He found it with a large dent in it without the case or ribbon, but I was absolutely thrilled to have it back.

I quickly sent it to Marvin Tytell of Tytell Typewriter Repair in NYC who took care of my office typewriters and told him the story. Marvin took extra special care to get it working again with a brand new ribbon. He did his best to remove the dent (it's a lot smaller) and find me a case (couldn't.) 

Marvin was going to be interviewed on television and wanted me to go with him to tell the story about it. Sadly, I couldn't go and he died a few years later.

I'll never forget the kindness of that young man in that warehouse and Marvin's love and care not only for all typewriters but the one special one that consoled a grieving daughter in the loss of her father. I have it in pride of place in my house with my father's discharge papers.

Do you have a story(ies) of nostalgia, humor or perhaps something so unusual that only a typewriter user could understand and appreciate? Well, let's hear them!

Just email Jon at [email protected]