Typewriter Talk

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25-1-2018 17:50:06  #1

Typewriter suggestion for dementia care home

Aloha everyone,

I operate a couple of memory care homes on Oahu and would like to get a typewriter that our residents will recognize and hopefully a few of them will use it.  When we opened our first location in 2005 I sourced an Underwood No. 5 along with a bunch of other antiques that would be found in offices and homes when our residents were young.  Unfortunately, I picked the wrong era for the machines and the residents thought they were too old (like the candlestick phone.)  You can see some of our antiques on the various pages of our website...here's the Underwood.

The average age of our residents is about 89.  So many of them started their work life after WWII and would have been mid career around 1970.  With Alzheimer's disease people lose their memories in reverse order or seem to go back in time.  

So, I'd say a typewriter from the 1950's through mid 1960's would be a good bet.  

I'm looking for something that was widely used and recognizable.  We'd probably be better off with one of the smaller machines vs the full sized models since space is always an issue.   I'm not sure about electric vs non electric.  The only thing about electric that scares me if the potential for a fire hazard if the machine has not been fully refurbished / check out.   

Anyway, I'm looking forward to your suggestions.



25-1-2018 17:54:24  #2

Re: Typewriter suggestion for dementia care home

I think one of the Smith Corona portables from the 1960s would be about right --  the so-called 6 series with the ribbon cover that slides back and forth. Models like the Galaxie or Classic 12. Those are manual machines; less to go wrong with them (and more likely repairable if something does -- are there any typewriter repairers in Honolulu or thereabouts?).


25-1-2018 18:04:05  #3

Re: Typewriter suggestion for dementia care home

Thank you for the suggestions.  Yes, there are two typewriter repair places that show up on google. 
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.870588)]    - PF Electric Typewriter and Time Clock Service
    - Pahala Typewriter Services

I suppose an advantage of a smaller machine is shipping won't be too bad if I ever need to send it away for repair.


     Thread Starter

25-1-2018 21:04:49  #4

Re: Typewriter suggestion for dementia care home

Perhaps larger standard office machines like the Royal KMG.  Olivetti’s might be good.  I do agree with the smith Coronas.  Those were very popular.  Try some of the Hermès machines as well.

Typewriter collector and repair geek

26-1-2018 13:04:41  #5

Re: Typewriter suggestion for dementia care home

Valiant from this forum donated a typewriter for that exact use to a local care home in our area. It was a '60s Smith-Corona Corsair. A staff member picked up the machine from my house and I had a chance to discuss its future use with her. Although the machine was in full working order, she was more concerned about its aesthetics and that it was a tactile tool for their work.

​With respect to model options, given that you're in Hawaii I would hedge my bets and stick to the four large American brands, and stick to portables rather than standards. It's more likely that a portable would have been found in someone's house than a standard, and that more people would have had a typewriter at home that they could relate to rather than one that they might have used at work.

​I'd also suggest placing ads in your local Craigslist or elsewhere asking for working typewriters to be donated with an explanation of what they'll be used for. I'm sure this will provide you with a number of options to choose from.

"To save time is to lengthen life."

26-1-2018 16:06:11  #6

Re: Typewriter suggestion for dementia care home

Great, thanks for the input everyone.  Sorry, what are the four large American brands?  Thanks, Dave

     Thread Starter

26-1-2018 16:34:06  #7

Re: Typewriter suggestion for dementia care home

Royal, Smith-Corona, Underwood, and Remington.


26-1-2018 16:58:58  #8

Re: Typewriter suggestion for dementia care home

Thank you.  Have a good weekend.

     Thread Starter

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