Ted Wood, Typewriter repairman at Charlottesville Office Machine Co.


The right-handed Wood says he never gets cramps in his hands, even after working on typewriters all day.

Typical workday?

I get here around 8:30 in the morning, and go to about 5pm. We answer the telephone, take service calls as they come in. Myself, I stay in most of the time now working on typewriters, old ones for the most part.
I use screwdrivers, pliers and some equipment made especially for typewriters, which we’ve had for 40 or 50 years. And an electric soldering torch to get rid of contact points, wires, things like that.
How did you learn your craft?
I went to work for a company in 1956. The three men who owned it were looking for a young man to train, so they came and asked me whether I’d like to work for them. In those days there were typewriter schools and training courses. The Underwood typewriter factory had a training school in Hartford, Connecticut, and I went there a few times when they came out with new models, as well as a few other places.
I do remember one time, years ago, where I broke off one of the segments, where the type bars all come up together, with my fingers. But I’ve always been kind of mechanically inclined, and never really made many mistakes.
What do you do to unwind after work?
I have a woodworking shop, where I make things. This isn’t really hard work. It can be difficult, when everybody wants you in a different place, but it isn’t hard.
Who’s still using typewriters these days?
They’re used in some of the court offices. Lawyers still have them. And there are individuals who still use them. For whatever reason, people especially want these older typewriters.