The Typewriter Inheritance, Part Four

By David Michael Newstead.

My mission to restore my grandfather’s typewriter stalls from time to time as I debate how to proceed. Surprisingly though, there’s a very famous typewriter enthusiast out there and sometime ago I decided I’d reach out and ask for his advice. Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks has an extensive collection of typewriters and even released a typewriter themed app in 2014 called Hanx Writer. Below, I include links to his NPR interview about typewriters and the app as well as a link to the Hanx Writer website. Then, I include the text from my snail mail letter to Mr. Hanks.

Dear Mr. Hanks,

My name is David Newstead. I’m writing to you in regards to your typewriter collection and expertise in that area. I’m currently attempting to restore my grandfather’s old typewriter – a Cole Steel Portable Typewriter manufactured in the United States between 1956 and 1966. Since you are the most well-known typewriter collector, I thought you would be a good person to ask about this. From your own experience, how have you overcome the limited availability of replacement parts when restoring older machines? I’ve talked to several repairmen in the D.C. area where I live and replacement parts for the Cole Steel have been impossible to locate so far. I feel like these older repairmen have a wealth of expertise, but once they’ve gone no one will be left who really understands typewriters. My mission to restore the Cole Steel is part personal challenge and partly a personal mission since my grandfather passed away a few years ago. I kept his typewriter since I thought it was the coolest thing when I was a kid and that there’s something special about these machines. Anyway, any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated.

All the best,
David Newstead

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