Typewriters are surviving the high tech age


NEW YORK (CNN) – While smart-phones and tablets may be taking over the world, the humble typewriter hangs on to its place.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “Typewriters write the way people talk.” From Jack Kerouac, to Hunter S. Thompson, the advent of the typewriter has helped shape the English language.

In the 1960’s, typewriters like the IBM Selectric were the pinnacle of office technology.

“We still sell these, we of course service them,” said Paul Schweitzer, Owner, Gramercy Typewriter.

Hard to believe, the same IBM Selectric is still being used today.

“Law offices, accounting firms, book publishers, people are still used to typing an envelope or a label,” said Schweitzer.

Even the New York Police Department admits they still need them.

“Currently, some forms are still required to be typed, so we do still have typewriters,” said Bill Bratton, New York Police Commissioner.

“This is an old-fashioned ribbon that they don’t make anymore,” said Schweitzer.

At Gramercy Typewriters in New York, the old machines are even clicking with younger fans.

“Typewriters have been making another resurgence, people are asking about typewriters, they’re coming in,” said Schweitzer.

It’s keeping Paul and his son Justin knee-deep in the machines. On a good week, Gramercy sells up to 30 and they can service 10-15 a day. They are cheaper than most modern computers, a working IBM is about 400 dollars. The older they are, the more expensive they are. Underwood is almost 100 years old and would probably sell for around 600 dollars. Frank Underwood, in the Netflix series, House of Cards, is a fan. As is actor Tom Hanks, a regular customer here.

“He comes in from time to time,” said Schweitzer.

Hanks loves typewriters so much he’s even launched an app that replicates the experience. While 55 years in the business have left Paul with blackened fingers, he’s not ready to retire and neither, he says, is the typewriter.

“There’s still a need for a typewriter and people are still gonna want a typewriter and I can see this going on for years,” said Schweitzer.

Copyright 2015, CNN. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories