Not in the Books

The vast majority of books written over the years for typewriter enthusiasts sidestep or, most commonly, completely ignore the rebuilt typewriter business, instead focusing on rare, unusual or just good-looking machines.  One of the few books that does mention rebuilt machines is the indispensable “Century of the Typewriter,” by Wilfred Beeching.

Century of the Typewriter Beeching 2nd Ed

“It is also worth pointing out,” Beeching writes (on page 88 of the second or 1990 edition) “that a good reconditioned typewriter is generally a better proposition than a used car.”

Although that reference is in the midst of another topic, on page 188 Beeching specifically elaborates on what he called “reconditioned typewriters” and the business.  He points out (as readers of this blog already know) that it didn’t take long after the mass production of typewriters began for a market in rebuilt machines to start up.  After describing generally the rebuilding process (which we’ll get into in vastly more detail in many later posts on this blog) Beeching interestingly and correctly notes “Before World War II, the demand for used machines led to a large and thriving business both in America and in England and, indeed, all over the world.”  Later, Beeching tells us that at the time of the writing of the book (which originally was 1974) “there is still a thriving business in rebuilt machines.”

“Century of the Typewriter” is one of the few books available to collectors written by someone who actually participated in the industry.  Beeching’s recognition of the rebuilt typewriter business is safely assumed to be a product of first-hand knowledge of the sales opportunities offered, and is just one reason why his book is (or should be) considered one of the most complete looks at the typewriter business on the whole that has ever been made available.

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