See Paul Schweitzer for All Your Typewriter Needs
The Owner of Gramercy Typewriters on The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan
Mitchell’s guest, Paul Schweitzer, does not own a smartphone or a computer. But, as the owner of Gramercy Typewriters in NYC, a business inherited from his father 58 years ago, he is surrounded by hundreds of typewriters. Celebrities, authors, students, young professionals call on Paul for repairs . . . and perhaps another addition to their collection. (Tom Hanks is on this list.) Mitchell and Paul talk about the emotional attachment people have on their machines, and more, on this episode of The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan.
From the episode:
Mitchell Kaplan: People don’t realize all the work that goes into [repairing typewriters]. At the same time, it’s an obsession where the price is pretty reasonable. I mean, you can get a refurbished typewriter for 300–500 dollars. Is that correct?
Paul Schweitzer: Yes, that’s the going rate for most of the machines. Of course, the older the machine, like machines from the 1920s and 30s, are going to be a little bit more than a machine from the 50s and 60s. We sell them every day.
MK: What is it about a typewriter that someone should be looking for?
PS: Of course, everyone is interested in the feel of the typewriter. I always encourage everyone to put their hands on the machine first, to see what you feel with the machine. Stronger, sturdier machines will last longer and have a better feel.
[. . .]
MK: I think when I talk to people about typewriters, the biggest misconception they have is that there are just a few brands, but when you really start looking deeply into typewriters around the world there are hundreds brands of typewriters.
PS: Right. Each country manufactured their own model of machines, and most of them were very, very good. Of course, in the United States in the 1920s and ‘30s, you had the Royals, the Remingtons, the Smith-Coronas, and the L.C. Smiths, which were all very well designed.
MK: Remington was one of the first machines?
PS: Yes. You could go back into the early 1900s with the Remington and Corona machines. . . . And back in the late 1800s they started with the machines.
MK: As early as the 1800s?
PS: Yes, they were experimenting.
MK: Right, didn’t Lincoln or Whitman write on a typewriter?
PS: On the Shoes typewriter, which I believe was one of the first manufactured typewriters.