Friday, September 12, 2008

Typewriter wizard!

A wonderful obit today in the NY Times for "Martin K. Tytell, Typewriter Wizard." I love these little quirky obits that shed light on recent history through idiosyncratic lenses.

He repaired the typewriters of Dorothy Parker and David Brinkley, Eisenhower and Stevenson.

I love this paragraph:
In 1943, a contraband shipment that included 100 Siamese typewriters was seized by the federal government, and with typewriters needed by overseas forces and typewriter producers having largely converted to other wartime manufacturing, Mr. Tytell, then in the Army, was asked to convert the Siamese typewriters for the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. His machines, capable of reproducing 17 different languages, were airdropped to O.S.S. headquarters at various war fronts.
Obviously typewriter repairmen are literally a dying breed. But I think Tytell's story goes to show that if you find your niche, no matter what it is, you can make a difference in the world. OK, that sounds hokey, but I like the idea that we're not all finding a cure for cancer and that's all right. Really, it's a very cool obit and you should read it.

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