Philly Typewriter - Atlas Obscura

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Philly Typewriter

Welcome to the home of the world's largest typewriter company. 

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Philly Typewriter, the largest typewriter company in the world, is housed in a surprisingly small brick-and-mortar shop in the heart of south Philadelphia. While humble in size, this shop is home to over 1,300 machines spanning 130 years of history. Visitors can drop in any time the shop is open to tour the workshop and type on restored typewriters without paying a dime. Typewriters are also for sale, and restorations are available for machines of all kinds (though the queue is typically 50 machines deep).

The owners and mechanics (a whopping team of five) are the most knowledgeable folks around who welcome beginner and veteran typists alike to explore their many living antiques. You can even take a repair class if you’re interested in becoming one of the rarest tradesmen on the planet. 

When you first enter the shop, stop to read the Typewriter Manifesto proudly posted to the wall above some of the company’s rarest machines (which you can use!). It’s also worth taking note of the small but powerful message posted behind the registers: “THESE MACHINES WILL NEVER BE PRODUCED AGAIN.” It’s a great reminder to appreciate the artistry of typewriters, especially since all the machines that exist are all we have left of these mechanical beasts.  

Tom Hanks, a renowned typewriter enthusiast with around 250 in his collection, has donated one of his prized models to the company. The rare 1953 East German Rheinmetall Gs typewriter came with the actor’s authograph, as well as a typewritten letter saying, “You just may be giving this miracle of a machine a fuller, newer life of use.”

Know Before You Go

Philly Typewriter is centrally located on historic East Passyunk Avenue, settled between some of the best restaurants in the city. Street parking is very tight and crowded, so walking or taking a cab is highly recommended, especially on the weekends. 

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March 12, 2024

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