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Revival of the Ribbon
Typewriter enthusiasts spread the joy of the clack Emily Townsend
Elise Greenwood-Sargent has felt drawn
to typewriters since she was a child. She remembers touching them in antique stores, hearing the clack of the keys and feeling their cool, shiny frames. Her attraction was only a lingering interest until four years ago, when she and her husband-to-be went for a walk around their neighborhood. “There was an estate sale. They had this really nice Olympia for sale. I said, ‘Whatever, I’m going down this rabbit hole’ and I bought it,” Greenwood-Sargent says. That was 50 typewriters ago. She thought she was alone in her passion for the antiquated machines. Then, in a moment of fate and with help from a very modern form of communication, she stumbled upon the Kalamazoo Typochondriacs Facebook page, a socialmedia hub for Michigan’s fastest-growing group of typewriter enthusiasts. The group formed three years ago. In addition to engaging in online chatter, the Typochondriacs meet several times a year for “type-ins” at area bookstores and breweries, usually pulling in a dozen or more attendees. Richard Polt, author of The Typewriter Revolution (a sort of how-to book for
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typewriter collectors), explains what many typewriter lovers around the world have come to expect at these events. “At type-ins, people enjoy using and talking about their typewriters in public; they might
Above: Typochondriacs member Elise Greenwood-Sargent has a collection of 50 typewriters. Opposite page: Richard Polt, author of The Typewriter Revolution, front, and Typochondriacs member Andrea Johnson clack away at a type-in held in January.