Typewriters at downtown bookstores
Typewriters were once the norm for doing business around Ann Arbor and nationwide. But now that the tech age is a quarter century old, it's hard for Ann Arborites who still use them to find places to repair them. So when Literati opened last spring with a logo showing a vintage manual typewriter, owners Hilary Lowe and Mike Gustafson found themselves constantly besieged by typewriter owners hoping they'd found the answer to their prayers.
The store on the corner of Washington and Fourth Avenue sells books, not typewriters. But Lowe and Gustafson rose to the occasion: though no one in Ann Arbor still repairs the vintage machines, they tracked down several shops in the Detroit area that do and are glad to make referrals.
Amazingly, Literati isn't downtown's only book-and-typewriter source. At the West Side Book Shop, Doug Price sells vintage machines as well as historic photos. Price currently has a German-made Olympia portable--the laptop of its time--that looks like it belongs on Mad Men. He says kids often come in wanting to know about them and learn how to use them. To Price, they're machine-age art, as worthy of attention as historic automobiles: "There should be a Pebble Beach, a Concours d'Elegance for typewriters."
[Originally published in October, 2013.]