Oldest typewriter repairman dies at 96, fixed over 300,000 machines
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Does anybody even use a typewriter anymore? Obviously someone does, because Manson Whitlock remained in business fixing typewriters until two months before he died on August 28. The 96-year-old had fixed over 300,000 machines in the 80 years he was in business.
“I don’t even know what a computer is. I’ve heard about them a lot, but I don’t own one, and I don’t want one to own me,” Whitlock said in a 2010 interview with The Yale Daily News.
He became interested in typewriters when he worked in his father’s bookstore as a child. “There’s no better teacher than taking something apart and putting it back together,” he told Yale reporters.
Even recently, Whitlock wasn’t exactly in the business for the money. Occasionally he would sell a typewriter that he’d fixed, but most of the time he just billed customers for the parts based on what they were worth back when typewriters were popular and only charged a $5 to $10 fee for the most complicated jobs, reported the Daily Nutmeg.
At one time his shop had six employees, but in the years before his death, it was only himself and he had no plans to retire until June.
“Has the typewriter remained in use because of me, or am I still around because of the typewriter,” he pondered in a Yale interview this past February.