Welcome to Typewriter Tuesday, a series from the American Writers Museum that aims to shed light on the typewriters and other tools behind some of your favorite works of literature. Check back every Tuesday to learn more about these trusty machines and the writers who used them. Our next special exhibit Tools of the Trade, opening June 2019, features more than a dozen typewriters on loan from Steve Soboroff’s impressive collection, as well as other writing implements and instruments used by American writers. In coming weeks, our Director of Operations, Christopher Burrow, will demonstrate how to use a typewriter so that when you visit you’re ready to write! Today, he takes the all important first step: loading paper.

You know what they say, life is a blank page and it’s up to you to write your story. Or something like that. But what if you don’t know how to put that blank page in your typewriter? It could go wrong in so many ways — backwards, crooked, upside-down, all of the above. Surely you can’t write the next great American novel with crooked paper!

Luckily, we’re here to help. Christopher Burrow is our Director of Operations and resident typewriter expert, maintaining all of our machines so that they are fully operational. His office is full of typewriters in various states of disrepair, repair and everything in between, as he’s always fixing and tinkering to ensure they remain in working condition.

Christopher wanted to share his appreciation of typewriters and show people how to use them, starting first with loading the paper. After all, a typewriter is just a trendy decorative piece without the paper properly loaded. Get this first step down and then follow along in coming weeks as we’ll explain more advanced typewriter functions and show you how to troubleshoot and care for your typewriter.

Here is Christopher with a 1958 Olympia SM 4. Watch the video below to make sure your paper is correctly in place, then get going on that novel you’ve been working on!

Tools of the Trade opens June 22. If you’re excited about this upcoming exhibit, and have been enjoying this content, please consider donating to our spring annual fund appeal. Your contribution will help support the AWM’s interactive exhibits and exciting literary events, and if you donate today, you’ll receive an invite to an opening reception for the exhibit on June 21. Make a gift of any amount today and you’ll be able to see Tools of the Trade before anyone else!

3 thoughts on “Typewriter Tuesday: How to Load Paper

  1. Rich says:

    Being old, I remember this very well. A little tangentially, since you have a resident expert, do we still have anyone around Chicago who repairs and restores manual typewriters?

    • American Writers Museum says:

      Hi Rich! Many times it is hard to find parts for the machines, but there are some people who still work on them. You might try Schroeder Business Machines in Bensonville: 630-766-5063.
      Tell Chuck you heard about them from us! Best of luck!

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