White River Junction, Vermont is a bastion of some of the first millennium’s best inventions: Trains (Amtrak’s Vermonter stops here), Cartoons (WRJ is the home to the Center for Cartoon Studies), and… Typewriters! So this week I packed my momma’s Smith Corona into its handy carrier and drove it two hours south to Twin […]
By Julia Shipley
Jan 29 2015
White River Junction, Vermont is a bastion of some of the first millennium’s best inventions: Trains (Amtrak’s Vermonter stops here), Cartoons (WRJ is the home to the Center for Cartoon Studies), and… Typewriters!
So this week I packed my momma’s Smith Corona into its handy carrier and drove it two hours south to Twin State Typewriter on 93 South Main Street.
She wrote her college thesis, exploring American humor in John Steinbeck’s novels on it. It clacked through the nap times of my childhood as she composed letters and invoices. And this is the typewriter that I use now when I need its erratic clatter to convince me that I might actually be writing something.
Smith Corona, Remington, Royal, Olympia, Hermes—Twin City Typewriter, founded in the 1970s, has seen and refurbished them all. A reclusive novelist who also lived about two hours away, he, too, used to bring his several typewriters here for tune-ups and repair. His name was J.D. Salinger.
For twenty years Wanda Nalette, has received machines suffering dry ribbons and sticky keys. Hoisting mine off the counter, she lugs it back to the workshop for her repairman’s attention. After working for six years as a Twin City employee, Wanda bought the business. That was 15 years ago.
“They’re definitely coming back,” she says of this archaic technology’s popularity.
On any given week, customers bring in three to seven vintage typewriters for cleaning or repair. 75% of her repair business comes from the chunky machines like mine that don’t need electricity or a battery, and 25% are those old behemoth IBM plug- ins.
One lady retrieving her typewriter tells me tells me proudly, “I have the same typewriter as the one in Truman’s Library.”
“Wow,” I exclaim, “Do you use it?”
“No, I don’t,” she admits.
“Well, because I have a computer.”
I turn to Wanda, wondering does she use a typewriter? She says in recent years she’s undergone two carpel tunnel surgeries, so, no, she does not.
But, Wanda insists, the younger generation, they’re showing a real interest in them. For instance, a woman was in the other day and while she and Wanda went over the bill, the woman’s six year old son drifted over to the Royal on the table and started typing away. Then he wandered back and said, “Mom, I made a mistake. Where’s the delete key?”
Twin City Typewriter is at 93 South Main Street in White River Junction, Vermont. They’re open Monday through Friday from 8-5
(802) 295-2803. And nope, sorry folks, no website.