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Since teaming up with his father, Paul has witnessed an incredible sea change in technology, and has adapted the business to accomodate it. Manual typewriters gave way to electronic typewriters and ultimately computers. But electronic typewriters and computers need printers. So, when offices no longer had use for typewriter maintenance and ribbon, the company started to offer printer repair services and toner cartridges. To this day, Paul and the team continue to make repair and maintenance visits to service printers.
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The small storefront is filled with typewriter related advertising, signage, and of course a selection of refurbished machines for sale. Some of the most popular models that people come looking for are the colorful ones made in the 1950s, like the red Royal pictured above. Anyone who has an old machine lying around is welcome to bring it in for a free consultation.
Gramercy Typewriter Company has been open for business since 1932, and its owners have no plans of ever calling it quits. In a new video feature, Paul Schweitzer draws the curtain back for a look behind the counter as he cleans, repairs, and inventories an array of typewriters. It's a soothing, ink-stained experience.
"I think there comes a time for every business, but we're going to keep going," the younger Schweitzer boasts over footage of him and his father debating proper the details of typewriter repair. "You see my dad, he's working every day, and he has no plans on retiring because he enjoys what he does. I feel the exact same way. We like what we do." [via Huck Magazine]Video directed by Alden Nusser
This New York scene depicts the Woolworth Building, Broadway and Manhattan including a fire truck. The artwork uses both black and red inked typewriter ribbons. The artwork measures at 29.7cm x 21cm and is printed on 160gsm high quality acid free cartridge paper.
The Royal Typewriter Company was founded by Edward B. Hess and Lewis C. Myers in January 1904 in a machine shop in Brooklyn, New York. The next year, Hess and Myers turned to Thomas Fortune Ryan, to whom they demonstrated a prototype typewriter. Their machine had numerous innovations including a friction-free, ball-bearing, one-track rail to support the weight of the carriage, a new paper feed, a lighter and faster typebar action, and complete visibility of the words as they are typed. Ryan put up $220,000 in exchange for financial control.
To promote the ruggedness of its typewriters, George Edward Smith, president of Royal, bought a Ford-Stout tri-motor airplane in August 1927. This plane, commonly called the Royal Airtruck, dropped over 200 typewriters in crates with parachutes to dealers over the eastern seaboard of the USA on its maiden flight. Royal eventually delivered over 11,000 typewriters this way with only ten being damaged.
World War II brought tremendous change to Royal. In order to aid the war effort, Royal converted its manufacturing to war work exclusively. Royal manufactured machine guns, rifles, bullets, propellers, and spare parts for airplane engines. It wouldn't be until September 1945 that Royal started typewriter production full-time again and not until December 1948 that it caught up on its pre-war backlog.
In 1947, Royal produced, in limited quantity, a gold-plated version of its popular Quiet Deluxe model. Ian Fleming, the British novelist who wrote the James Bond novels, used one. Many other writers, including Ernest Hemingway, used a Royal typewriter.
In April 1954, the Royal typewriter Company announced its plan to merge with McBee, a leading manufacturer of accounting and statistical machines and supplies. By July, Royal stockholders had approved the plan and Royal McBee was formed.
In December 1957, Royal announced it had just produced its 10 millionth typewriter. Congratulations were received from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks and the Governor of Connecticut, Abe Ribicoff.
In January 1969, Litton Industries further cemented its hold on the typewriter market by purchasing the German typewriter manufacturer, Triumph Adler. Almost immediately, the U.S. government filed an anti-trust suit against Litton accusing it of creating a monopoly. The FTC ruled in March 1973 that Litton had to divest itself of Triumph Adler. Litton appealed and, in a rare reversal, the FTC issued a ruling in April 1975 stating that Litton could keep Triumph Adler.
In April 1986, Olivetti, the Italian typewriter/computer manufacturer, announced plans to purchase Triumph Adler and Royal from Volkswagen. For nearly two decades Royal was a part of the Olivetti family.
A Royal typewriter with a Prestige Elite typeface was one of the items found at Zodiac suspect Arthur Leigh Allen's apartment, matching the typewriter the Zodiac killer used to write letters sent to the Riverside Police Department.
The Underwood No. 5 typewriter was the most successful typewriter design in history and set the standard for all manual typewriters that came after it. The Underwood No. 5 typewriter dominated the typewriter market for the three decades it was in production with five million produced and sold from 1900/1901 to 1931/1932. The Underwood established the stereotype of a typewriter until the introduction of the IBM Selectric in 1961 and the Underwood No. 5 was the quintessential Underwood with millions of Underwood machines used by secretaries, journalists, government officials, and writers throughout the first half of the twentieth century.
The Gramercy Typewriter Company is not actually in Gramercy, rather solidly in the Flatiron District, but don't tell them that. They have been operating under that name for three generations, and now hold title to the City's oldest typewriter shop.
A father and son keep typewriters tapping with their 84-year-old business in New York. The latest in our Family Business series, which celebrates people passing down would-be lost arts to their children and children's children.
With its crystal clear cabinet and its 7,000-character storage memory, the 2416DM 7K CCin is specifically designed for use by inmates incarcerated in correctional facilities. The 2416DM 7K CCin lets you store, revise, and print up to 50 files, while its 20-character LCD lets you see what you've typed before it ever gets to paper. And if you don't catch a typo, chances are the 2416DM 7K CCin's built-in SPELLPROOFTM will. These and many other convenient features make this a personal typewriter with real power.
He desired a great skyscraper for his booming company, emulating those great towers built by industrialists like Frederick Bourne (of the Singer Sewing Machine Company and its companion Singer Building), and newspaper men like Joseph Pulitzer (who, after all, now used Underwood typewriters in their newsrooms at the mightt World Building on Park Row).
Family owned & operated since 1932, Gramercy Typewriter has been passed down for three generations, starting with Abraham Schweitzer who handed the keys to his son and current owner, Paul. It primarily was, and still is, a repair business, accepting typewriters across the globe to keep them running like new.
Initially hired part-time by a typewriter company to help around the shop, Abraham quickly realized he could perform the job on his own. With his entrepreneurial spirit, he rented office space next to Gramercy Park, giving the typewriter company its name.
After finishing the first draft of Casino Royale, Ian Fleming rewarded himself with a Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable gold-plated typewriter. Fleming bought the gold-plated version from a New York dealer in 1952 as a trophy and wrote to his friend Ivar Bryce in New York asking him to bring the typewriter over on his next trip to England:
The Royal Typewriter Company, a manufacturer of typewriters headquartered in New York City, introduced the Quiet Deluxe portable typewriter in 1941 and the model became very popular. In 1947 Royal produced, in limited quantity, a gold-plated version of the Quiet Deluxe model. The golden version is nowadays hard to find but a simple Royal Quiet Deluxe portable typewriter can be found on eBay sometimes.
New York was in its eternal process of reconstruction and demolition. A third of the sidewalks were torn up, cranes were devouring buildings, and drilling rattled the sidewalks. The heat was so intense that even the subway shimmered. I carried my typewriter up to the street like a stolen offering from Hades.
According to Paul, business is booming, thanks to a renewed interest of young people in the retro machinery. Schweitzer said that in the 2000s, Gramercy Typewriter sold an average of 10 typewriters each month. In recent years, monthly sales jumped to about 60.
"From what I see and hear from our typewriter customers, they like the feel of the machine. They like to see the words hit the paper," Paul said. "There's no distractions when they're working on a typewriter, no pop-ups and things that they'll get on their computers."
Paul Schweitzer works on a typewriter at his shop in New York November 1, 2007. Schweitzer is one of a dying breed. As owner of Gramercy Typewriter Co. in New York City, he repairs machines that many find obsolete. But he's not ready to fold yet. Picture taken November 1, 2007. To match feature TYPEWRITERS/ REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES)
On display in Analog City is a 1961 IBM Selectric typewriter that visitors can try. Unlike the typewriters WBI graduates would have used in the 1940s, the Selectric utilized a spherical typing element that allowed for vastly increased speeds. Regardless, between breaking lines manually and the pressure needed to engage each letter, 120 words a minute on a Selectric is difficult. So, imagine typing at such a rate on a 1930s or 1940s machine under the scrutiny of a hostile hiring committee!
WBI persevered in Harlem until 1967, when the space the school had rented since 1933 was demolished to make way for the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Federal Office Building. At a new location down in Union Square, WBI staff embraced emerging computer technology and a changing economic landscape. However, as the Selectric typewriter on display suggests, the shift towards new and eventually digital technologies increasingly changed the scope of job training. Given the need to revise their curriculum, and the fact that WBI no longer primarily served Harlem or African American communities, school leaders decided to sell the business in 1980. 041b061a72