Thursday, December 24, 2015

Typewriter repairers

Sean noticed my use of repairmen in a post about typewriters and handwriting. I chose the word repairmen eyes open (that is, aware of -men ), since “the last typewriter repairman” is a recurring bit of journalism. (Try it.)

But I just discovered Nellie Myra Thatcher (d. 1958), who repaired typewriters in New York and was described in 1919 as “the first woman typewriter ‘repairman.’” And I also just discovered that in 2010, Mariana Keller of The Wall Street Journal made a short film about Donna Brady, whom Keller calls a typewriter repairwoman. The workspace we see in that film does not suggest a repair shop (with tools, spare parts, and machines dropped off for fixing): Brady’s business seems to have been a matter of cleaning up and reselling typewriters at flea markets. (I can imagine a courtroom battle over the meaning of repair : does applying machine oil to a moving part count?) At any rate, the business, Type B, now appears to be on hiatus or closed.

And at any rate, I’ve added repairers to repairmen in my post, acknowledging the journalists’ phrasing but acknowledging too that not all those who repair are men. Thanks, Sean, for getting me to rethink it.

Related reading
All OCA typewriter posts (Pinboard)

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