Typex Encourages Value for Historical Significance
By Neal McChristy
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There are quite a few quotes worth noting on The Typewriter Exchange, that could be of value to the antique collector. Here's one: "The dollar value of old typewriters, like labor and postage, has risen with the times. But the price should not be the focal point. The fact is that the collector generally values early machines for their unique historical significance. . ."
Mike Brown, Philadelphia, is the editor and Curt Scaglione, Hudson, Fla., is the webmaster of The Typewriter Exchange, which is the oldest typewriter-collector newsletter. The newsletter is published quarterly, with 14 pages and two pages in color.
"Yes, old typewriter lovers come from all walks of life," Brown wrote. "Among us are doctors, lawyers, newspapermen, teachers, computer programmers, college professors, secretaries, writers, clergymen, historians - and you can name it."
Brown is asked why people in a high-tech society collect typewriters. Said he: "I think a lot of people are just naturally nostalgic."
He started his own journey into collecting after having been in the office-machine business for over 25 years from his college days. He took a part-time job at Office Systems, Philadelphia, delivering supplies and typewriters. While unloading supplies he walked through the repair departments. He said that with his mechanical ability, it wasn't long before he "became fascinated with the repairmen who were fixing typewriters." It also wasn't long before he was trained and given a job in the repair shop.
His service encounter with a Blickensderfer made Brown vow to learn more about the history of office machines, he said. A customer brought one in for repair and not one of the company employees had either seen these machines nor heard anything about them.
Brown, as service manager, then left and founded Business Machine Repair. It wasn't long before he was drawn to an antique machine by a customer again - his time an antique Underwood that a man asked him to buy. "A collector was born," Brown said, and he began meeting fellow collectors, more people and researching some of the rare, elusive machines. His collection over the past 13 years numbers over 300 machines. He also began researching the history of ribbon tins and likewise began collecting them.
His interest in the newsletter came after Dan Post, who Brown calls his "dear friend and mentor," died and left the Typewriter Exchange Newsletter to another person, who passed it on to Brown. He said it had always been his dream "to help keep the hobby alive. In today's world, some of the so-called hobbyists are really dealers and speculators trying to make a quick buck." He said his interest in collecting went deeper - to preserve a piece of history and help others.
Brown and Scaglione were introduced by a mutual friend when Brown was in the Army. "We hit it off and have been friends ever since," Brown says. In written comments, Brown says, "Scaglione is known for most his uncanny knack of polishing and restoring antiques to museum-quality appearance."
There are currently 200 readers of The Typewriter Exchange newsletter, including the U.S. and 11 foreign countries.
The Web site for The Typewriter Exchange is freenet.tlh.fl.us/~curtis7
E-mail Mike Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail Curt Scaglione at email@example.com