Local typewriter collector exchanges letters with fellow enthusiast Tom Hanks

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STEPHENTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Typewriters were doomed by the invention of computers, but enthusiasts are keeping the nostalgic practice alive. One of them, who lives in Stephentown, is corresponding with a celebrity collector — Tom Hanks.

The feeding of paper, clacking of keys, and ding of the carriage return compose a typewriter song that’s music to Scott Connors’s ears.

“It also gives you the feeling of this tactile experience of this hitting a key and it’s going on a paper and you’re doing it right there.”

Thoughts become a permanent trail of ink. There’s no spell check, backspace, or digital distractions.

“I’m divorced from any other thing that can pop up on the computer—text messages, email. So you find that it’s just me and the typewriter and I’m sitting down and I’m just gonna type on it.”

Connors’s obsession with the nostalgic machine fills his home. His oldest? A 1909 LC Smith.

“This machine looks like it did then when it rolled off the assembly line in 1936,” he beamed looking at a machine he restored himself.

When he’s not tinkering, he’s scouring tag sales for elusive models, traveling hours away for what can feel like back-alley deals.

“She said, ‘The typewriter will be in a box on the porch. Put the money in the mailbox.’ I felt like I was doing a drug deal!”

It’s an enthusiasm he happens to share with movie star Tom Hanks. So, Connors decided to reach out to the kindred spirit.

“I said, ‘Dear Tom, if there were a patron saint of typewriters, it would be you.'”

He never expected a response from Hanks. He was elated when he opened his mailbox one morning.

“I was totally surprised. I was shocked.”

Hanks writes of “culling his herd”

“Here he says, ’25? I don’t think I could ever get that low,’ which I have 25 machines and he has, I think 250,” said Connors.

On a typewriter, even a celebrity’s mistakes can’t be corrected.

“He just kept typing, crossed it, X’d it out and signed it. I was really, really happy that he had actually taken the time to write me a letter and to say, ‘Hey, I’m probably going to be sending you a typewriter, keep on the lookout for one.'”

A typewriter that will come to life in its own way.

“They all have their own little intricacies, and when I’m working on them I always wonder, ‘who typed on this? What did they type on it? Did someone type a letter in WWII letter on this? Did someone type a suicide note on this? Did someone type a homework assignment?'”

He wants to preserve these time machines and share them with others. Under his gleeful tutelage, even the unskilled find joy in the satisfying thud of ink to paper.

A special thanks to Centurion Business Machines for their help with this story.

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