The Classic
          Typewriter Page
The Percy Smock Corner
Resources for the Typewriter Collector

by Richard Polt

The Typewriter Revolution:
A Typist's Companion for the 21st Century

A page in honor of Percy Smock, who was collecting typewriters
back when only eccentrics would do such a thing.

"Percy Smock of Redwood City, California, with a few Antiques from his Large Collection"
From Bruce Bliven's The Wonderful Writing Machine (1954)
To learn more about Mr. Smock, read this post by Robert Messenger.

Peter Weil shares this urban legend with me which illustrates how the general public views us (I've seen this story about accordions, too):
An avid typewriter collector had just driven eighty miles after work to pick up a rare Royal Grand that he had finally found after years of searching. As he drove home with his prize, it was dark and he was becoming sleepy. He decided to pull off the interstate to get some coffee. He had barely tasted his first sip, when, much to his horror, he realized that he had left the Grand exposed on the back seat of his unlocked car. He jumped up and ran into the parking lot to his car, but saw he was too late. The back window had been smashed...and there were two more typewriters beside his prize!

Typewriter collectors are relatively few, and tend to be men. Most are considered incurably weird by their significant others. As you might expect, many of us are professionally involved with writing or technology. In the U.S. there are several hundred collectors, but nine out of ten are casual collectors who own only a few old machines. The hobby is a bit more popular in Europe, particularly Germany.

Since this site first went online, in late 1995, interest in typewriters has grown. That's partly because they have almost become obsolete. Many children have never even seen a typewriter. This gives these machines the allure of the archaic. Recently, our hobby has gotten a good amount of press -- partly thanks to this Web site, I'm happy to say. We can only expect that interest will continue to grow. (Well-known typewriter lovers include Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga.) My book The Typewriter Revolution documents the new popularity of typewriters in the 21st century.

Good information about typewriters can be hard to find, but digging it up is part of the fun--and in recent years a number of helpful books have been published. The listing below is by no means exhaustive, but I try to cover all the most important resources.

Books in print

Deal! Office Machine Americana offers the Collector's Guide, Mares, and Current for only $44 total, postpaid in the US (add 30% for shipping abroad). Visit their website or e-mail Ernie Jorgenson at Snail mail address: Ernie Jorgenson, Office Machine Americana, P.O. Box 1161, Lewiston, ID 83501.

Books out of print

A good place to search for used books online is Bookfinder. Or ask your friendly local librarian to get these on interlibrary loan.

Organizations and Periodicals

Publicly Displayed Typewriters

You may want to consult my listing of typewriter displays.