San Antonio’s Last Traveling Typewriter Repairman

“I could probably do this in the dark.”

By Paul FlahiveFebruary 1, 2017 9:30 am, , ,

From Texas Public Radio

Don Spring has been repairing typewriters for 50 years. The owner of Affordable Typewriter Services sells them occasionally too.  In fact, he sold one a couple of weeks ago, but the 72 year-old says he couldn’t close the deal on a recent pitch.

“She says, ‘let’s take it back and show it to the girls.’ I walk in there and she says to the girls ‘how can we get the ribbons?’ I say ‘I can get the ribbons.’ She says, ‘Well, who is going to fix it?’ I say, ‘Well, I can fix it. I’ve been doing it 50 years.’ ‘Well, what are we gonna do when he dies,” he says laughing.

His customers these days are older individuals.

“I have customer in Kerrville who’s 102-years-old. He has a Smith Corona — a portable electric — and he does all his checks on the typewriter.”

And his customers are businesses that deal with a myriad of forms, but would rather line up a type writer than pay to program a computer and printer to do it.

Towne Services of San Antonio moves military members when they get transferred, and the Department of Defense likes its forms. They estimate they do between five to seven different forms for each move, and each move is different.

“I could probably do this in the dark,” he boasts deftly removing the cover from the IBM Selectric 2.  This business at one time had seven, now they have only two of the typewriters.

“When I worked for IBM, if you hadn’t fixed it in 15 minutes you were in trouble,” Spring says.

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