Backstory about the Artist’s Love of Typewriters During World War I, in the Army, my grandfather learned how to repair typewriters. When he returned home, his wife and he started a business in the basement of their home. He also was a Sales Manager for Royal typewriters in the midwest. Once their boys matured, Tom and Larry Jr. worked in the business selling and repairing more brands and ribbons, and of course, collected typewriters. Mostly the collection grew from trade-ins. The youngest son, George was best at repairing equipment. They all supported their families while growing the office machine business.
As a child, I worked as needed in the letter shop. We had a dozen Auto-Typists arranged in a u-shape in the back of the store. I would roll a clean sheet of letterhead into the machine and press the On button. Then roll my chair to the next one and do the same. These Auto-Typists worked off a perforated roll of paper just like the unattended piano played music. (More later!)
My father, Larry Jr. was very proud of the small family business. As I became a senior in college, he very much wanted me to take it over. Although I was very creative and not really interested, nor qualified to forge the computer age. Also the Super stores in the early 80s began selling cheap word processors. It changed the value added quality of investing in a durable tool from a person that would demonstrate thoroughly and “stand behind it.” My sister, Laura, has kept the business open with her spouse. Victor is the repairman who was trained by Uncle George!
Los Angeles had the warm climate and creativity I craved. Uncle George was there and I really liked it as a teenager. Always having a love for ink and paper, authors and artists, I worked in advertising, and printing, graphics and finally photography… When I visit my parents in Ste. Genevieve, I entertain myself with my camera. There is a barn and cellar full of these wonderful old machines. From it has emerged my artwork, TypOwriters. This is my way of connecting with the family business and really enjoying it.