The Typewriter Man

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Martin Tytell, known as Mr. Typewriter, passed away this week. He repaired machines for a number of great writers.


This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. If you ever sent a letter to Mr. Typewriter, New York over the last 60 years, chances are Martin Tytell would get it. He died this week at the age of 94. He fixed typewriters for scores of writers, including Dorothy Parker. Imagine the language those keys must have seen. And the old New Yorker crowd, (unintelligible), David Brinkley, Dwight Eisenhower and Adley Stevenson. He modified typewriters to speak 145 different languages including (unintelligible) and kept two million typefaces in stock. Take that, Microsoft Word.

During World War II, Martin Tytell modified typewriters for the Office of Strategic Services so they could type in 17 different languages. For those of us who love typewriters and think they have words locked inside that can only be coaxed out by strong hands with something to say, Martin Tytell was a life giver. He had a sign over his shop that said, "Psychoanalysis for your typewriter" and one said of his shop, normal people don't come in here, R.I.P.(ph).

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