Tom Hanks Loves Typewriters But Now He’s Giving All of His Away Except For One

From a New York Times story, “This Tom Hanks Story Will Help You Feel Less Bad,” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner:

Like I said, he was 19 when he got his first typewriter. A friend gave it to him — “it was a hunk of junk — a toy,” he said. He went to get it serviced, and the repairman said to him, “This is a toy. Why are you using a toy?” The man sold him a Hermes 2000, which is now lost. So he invested in another. “I said, oh yeah, this is going to stay with me for a while, and I am soothed by it. I’m soothed by having it. I’m soothed by knowing that I can take it anywhere with me.”

Everyone I spoke with about him told a story about notes they received from one of his typewriters. . . .

He loves typewriters because “they’re brilliant combinations of art and engineering. But art, engineering, and purpose,” he said. “Every machine is as individual as a set of fingerprints. So, every time you type something on a typewriter, it is a one-of-a-kind work of art.” He even created a sweet little app called Hanx Writer that allows you to type and send a message rendered in typewriter style.

When he started collecting them he was married, but he was just as transient as he’d been as a child. He was getting gigs on “The Love Boat” and at the Great Lakes Theater outside Cleveland. He began to collect typewriters maybe because he finally had control over his belongings, even though he still moved a lot. . . .

Lately, he’s been giving away his typewriters. Now that he’s had a home all these years, and stability, and a wife who sings to him and children who bring his three granddaughters to visit him regularly, he wants to get a little leaner on stuff again. He’s down to about 120. One day he’ll just have one. The one he’ll keep is the Olivetti Lettera 22, the same model they keep at MoMA. I told him I make too many mistakes to work on a typewriter. But Tom Hanks is more optimistic than I am.


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