Typewriter repair fading away.
The last typewriter repair shop in Ann Arbor is located in a nondescript single-story office building on Collingwood. But the folks at M & M Typewriter Service don't actually do the repairs themselves: they contract them out to Jim Carson, the last local practitioner of that once-valuable trade. Sadly, Carson doesn't get to practice it much these days. "Most companies still have at least one typewriter because there are some forms that can't be done on a computer or to make labels," he says. "But their use is so infrequent now, you can go for five years without getting it serviced and two years without changing ribbons." Though someone brings in a typewriter about once a week, he can repair only about half of them, because "there's no replacement parts--we don't even have ribbons." It's so frustrating that Carson is reluctant to let people know he still works on typewriters--he spends most of his time now repairing computer printers.
[Originally published in December, 2009.]