Typewriters Matter - A Tool for People with Disabilities?

paul-smithSince starting our typewriter repair business several years ago, I've been intrigued by the how people use typewriters today.  Of course, many are used in traditional ways - creative writing of all sorts, letter writing, and even some are still used in the business world.  The one use for typewriters that surprised me was how they are being used by people who face physical challenges.  I've mentioned before how we've had several customers contact us looking for a manual typewriter to use because they are suffering from tremors and cannot use a computer or cannot write legibly.  

 I've been wondering how typewriters could be used by others who may face some sort of physical disability.  Could a typewriter help someone write better, communicate better?  Could they be used as a creative outlet - Paul Smith seemed to think so.

I really believe typewriters matter and they matter because people matter.  And if a typewriter can help a person engage the world more fully than that is pretty exciting to me.  I want to be a part of that.  If you know of anyone who is using a typewriter in some of the way discussed above, please let me know.  I'd love to hear about it.


  • Bryan Sherwood

    Thanks Michael for your comment. Your story is really interesting – I’m really glad you’ve found using your typewriter to be a positive experience and to help you remain alert and focused. I keep saying it because I believe it: Typewriters Matter!

  • Michael Davenport

    Excellent post Bryan. As you may know I have narcolepsy. Within 15 minutes of sitting down, unless I’m in a stimulating conversation with someone, I cannot stay awake. The lobby area of our local Wellness Center was always a very embarrassing place for me as I waited for my two youngest children to finish their speech and occupational therapy sessions and inevitably fell asleep each time – twice a week. No matter what I tried, nothing could keep me awake. It was humiliating. Finally I brought along a machine just to see if I could stay awake, and it worked. The tactile nature of writing on old manual typewriter was engaging my brain on a whole different level, not to mention the adding a flow of to my writing I had never enjoyed. Primarily writing correspondence, journal entries, and the occasional poem, clicking away on these mechanical marvels has allowed me to engage my creativity in a way that I thought I had lost years ago when I first began to notice symptoms of narcolepsy. Typewriters have made it possible for me to stay focused, alert and present enough to write again.

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