Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27, 2014 - Thanks Back

The last post was related to a windfall of 7 free Selectric typewriters.

I typed a 3 page letter of thanks to the owner of the company, explaining that their gift was not just to me, but to the Type-O-Sphere as a whole. To go out of their way to preserve machines rather than just throw them away, told me a lot of about their character and values.

Here is his letter back to me, I had to share, it brought a tear to my eye, and is a great insight into the history of the machines that they bequeathed to us.


Hello Brian Brumfield & Sons,

Boy,  am I glad my son Steve  found you and the kids.  I knew someone was out there in the world that felt the same way you & I do about this old technology.   It’s still a historical machine helped us leap light years ahead.   I use to say “Dear Lord, I will want for nothing else since you brought me this”.  All I can say is it revolutionized our operation and probably the whole country.   People just don’t know.    I could not bare to throw these into the dumpster like an old computer.  They have hearts and souls!  I feel bad not using not using an IBM but at  my age I’ve fallen victim to new technology . Sorry

We’ve keep these machines ever since the computers took over, cause there are still many times the IBM is faster, handier and can make additions, corrections easier.   These machines are going on 30 plus years old and are still wonderful even though maintenance is always needed from time to time.
We’ve had a difficult time keeping them running since an old timer friend of mine retired a few years ago.      We still have 2  more left.   And we use them daily.   A key sticks from time to time but they still bring back memories of great times .

I use to have 5 people in the closing dept. and 5 people in the title dept. and when we were busy the noise was deafening.  But it was music to my ears, I knew we’re busy and money was coming in to pay the bills.  .  They made me lots of money over the years.  But it was not just the money that was great, it made the job for everyone so much easier. I remember when I would tell the typist a “new” machine was on its way to us.  You thought it was someone’s birthday.

We did even  trade in a few machines on IBM 50’s and 100’s.  The ones with a dial that had “memory” in them.    Remember those??

I bought most of these machines ( a couple were gifted)  in and around 1976-77-78-79- 80 from a guy named Glen Willett.    Back then, he sold these door to door in downtown Columbus for IBM.   I’m 75 now but that was when I first went into business on my own.   Prior to the Correcting Selectric, we would type Real Estate Closing Statements (lots of numbers) with 3 pieces of carbon paper.  Then , when the Realtor would tell us the termite bill he gave us was off by $5, we would have to make corrections on all the pages , retype and it drove my employees and myself crazy.

I could go on and on and make a 3 pager also but I won’t.   I know we will be in touch in the near future since a few keys are sticking but don’t worry about giving us a “deal”, you’ve got to cover the expenses then a few extra bucks to put away.  I know, we use to do many things/ services for free.  Nowadays, we wind up having to charge just to cover insurances, gas, etc.

If and when you get a Selectric III up and running I would love to buy one back and put in my home office.  I have a bunch of older stuff I keep.  I would  gift it back to you when that time comes.

I’m sorry I missed you and the kids but I’m so pleased to have found each other.  Your letter was inspiring.    The kids have a great start and thank you all  for what you do.  

I knew you were out there somewhere.




  1. What a great tribute to Selectrics! And a heartwarming story of an exchange not based on profit.

  2. I wrote my letter to him on the 1940 KMM that I rescued from Winston-Salem for $5 - it was found in an alley, and I brought it home and Ian restored it. I thought it was a great machine to use. :-) His letter jerked a couple tears - I must admit.

  3. That's awesome. Thanks for sharing that.