The Typewriter Man



Frequently Asked Questions - and Answers

My typewriter punches holes in the paper, particularly 'c' 'o' and full stops.  It's ruining my work.  Can you help ?
A.  Yes !  Th
s is caused by the rubber platen (roller) becoming age-hardened.  I can re-rubber the platen to
restore 'new typewriter' performance, and often renew the rubber feed rollers beneath to restore the paper grip too !  It is an expensive process though....

Q. I've always wanted a bright red typewriter. I've looked everywhere - the few I've seen cost a fortune !
A.   I can help !   As long as the casings on your machine are metal (some later machines had plastic casings), I can dismantle and refinish your typewriter to ANY colour you desire !   I aim to make the machine look as if it was originally manufactured in the new colour.   The pictures below show 'before' and 'after' views of a machine where I changed the colour from blue to yellow.

One of the plastic platen knobs on my typewriter has broken off.   It's a real nuisance.
Fragile platen knobs can be a problem on some makes.   After all, we could easily be dealing with 50-year-old plastic !   Depending on the model, I could either replace it with a good secondhand part or make a new one to fit onto the existing metal core.   In some cases I can bond and reinforce the remains of the existing knob.

Q.   I'm looking to hire or buy a typewriter for a film/TV/stage production.
A.    No problem !  I've supplied typewriters for this purpose before - and modified them to suit special filming requirements.   I also have an extensive collection of pre-war typewriters for hire.

Q.    I want a typewriter as a wedding guest book.
A.    See above - or - I could refinish your typewriter in white for your special occasion !

Q.    Do you supply typewriter parts for me to fit myself ?
A.    Sorry, no.   But my labour charges are quite reasonable if you would like me to repair the machine for you.

Q.   I cannot find a ribbon on sale anywhere for my typewriter.   Can you help ?
A.    Unless you have an unusual antique machine, I probably can.   Most of the twenty six different manual typewriter ribbons available thirty years ago are now obsolete.   As long as you still have the spools though, there is hope !    I can often supply new fabric to wind onto your old spools - with instructions on how to do it yourself.    Or you can post me your old spools and I'll rewind new ribbon onto them for no extra charge.    Even if your machine takes one of the few ribbons that are still being produced on plastic spools, never throw away the metal ones.   They don't make metal spools any more and they work so much better !

Can you supply coloured ribbons for my typewriter?


Thirty years ago you could buy all sorts of colours, including green and brown, although these were always to special order. Nowadays, the choice is more limited. The only unusual colour I can now get to special order is purple.

Q.    Would you be able to give a talk about typewriters to my club or society ?
A.  Yes, but only within a 30 mile travelling distance of Luton, where I am based. I do charge for my time and mileage though !

Q.    Can you service my typewriter ?
By service, customers often mean repair. A service is: 'clean to as near new condition as possible, lubricate and adjust for best performance' - it can absolutely transform an old machine and make it a joy to use.   Repairs of more than a minor nature are charged separately.

Q.     Do you give free estimates ?
A.   Yes of course, but if you have posted the typewriter to me, return postage is at your expense.   If you live a long distance away from Luton, where I am based, e-mail me first with a full description of the fault and maybe some pictures, and I might be able to give you some idea of the cost before you send the machine in for a proper estimate. SEE THE SHIPMENT PAGE FOR MY GUIDELINES ON HOW TO PACK A TYPEWRITER

Q.    How do I get a typewriter to you ?
If you live within reasonable driving distance of Luton, where I am based, bring it yourself or send a friend. This GUARANTEES no damage in the post ! Otherwise, Royal Mail or courier. But you MUST pack it properly to prevent damage. SEE THE SHIPMENT PAGE FOR MY GUIDELINES ON HOW TO PACK A TYPEWRITER

Q.      Will you come to me and repair my typewriter ?
A.   It depends on how far you are from Luton, where I am based, and the nature of the problem.   In most cases, it is a lot cheaper to to get the machine to me instead.

Q.     Would you buy my old typewriter ?
A.   If it is a model that I can sell afterwards, probably yes.  This could be a great way of disposing of a non-working machine!   But bear in mind that I may not offer you a lot for it because I have to spend a lot of time rebuilding typewriters to pristine condition before I can sell them on!

Q.   What sort of typewriters do you repair and sell ?
A.   The vast majority of machines that I see are vintage manual portable typewriters. This is purely because they have survived in greater numbers than office machines, and there is more interest in them. But I can also repair and service office-size manuals, electric typewriters of all sorts, golfball typewriters and daisy wheel machines.

Q.     Can you still get spare parts for typewriters ?
A.    In the majority of cases, no !   Most typewriter manufacturers have either gone out of business altogether or diversified into making other products, scrapping all their remaining spares decades ago.    However, I have a number of alternative strategies including making replacement parts myself where necessary.