Q: Picking through an antiques shop, I scored a forties manual typewriter for $20. I know this Hermes will inspire my first novel, but it needs resuscitation first. Is there a doctor in the house?
A: Paul Schweitzer’s business card says he specializes in Hewlett-Packard laser printers, but a quarter of the business at his Gramercy Typewriter Co. (in the Flatiron building, 175 Fifth Avenue, at 23rd Street, Suite 807; 212-674-7700) involves fixing typewriters, from Underwoods and Remingtons to IBM Selectrics. “There are fewer and fewer people who still know how,” says Schweitzer, but despite his rare-bird status, prices have stayed reasonable. Starting at $55, he can give that Hermes a complete checkup, aligning the keys, oiling the mechanism, and replacing the ribbon with one that will last for years. He should know—as a kid, Schweitzer helped spool ribbons by hand for the repair business his father started in 1932. A warning, though: Don’t forget to pick up your machine when he’s done. Schweitzer will offer it to another writer for the cost of repairs after 30 days.