Visit Brady & Kowalski Writing Machines at the Brooklyn Flea in New York (map it)
Find Refurbished typewriters on display, for sale, and for rent—a would-be dream shop for Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, who is an avid collector of these retro machines. The Brady & Kowalski collection features machines from 1900 to 1980, including a pink Royal Quiet De Luxe that recently sold for $600.
The Back-Story In just a matter of a few decades, typing has evolved into a backspace-cut-and-paste process, where words can be deleted, modified, or sent thousands of miles in a matter of seconds. But before we found ourselves debating over PC vs. Mac, the clicking of keys was a much more deliberate and careful process. A process now celebrated by two Brooklyn women who fix up, collect, sell, and rent out typewriters.
Brandi Kowalski purchased her first typewriter at a garage sale three years ago. It was a 1957 grey Royal Futura 800 (a brand favorite of writer Ernest Hemingway) and she started using it to write poetry.
“I loved the sound the keys made when striking the pages,” says Kowalski who soon found herself rooting through boxes at garage sales, junk shops, and thrift stores in search of typewriters. “I would run over to them and instantly start tapping away. I bought every one I saw.”
Kowalski’s friend Donna Brady joined the typewriter hunt after admiring Kowalski’s growing collection, especially her 1950s aqua Smith Corona.
“Many of them remind me of classic cars—such well-made, beautiful machines,” says Brady, who now has a pink Smith Corona Super Silent model she uses as a nightly journal and a portable early 1960s Hermes Rocket that she takes to the park.
The old-car analogy extends beyond appearance. Once Kowalski purchases a typewriter, she either fixes it up to complete working order before reselling it or she stashes it in the garage to use for spare parts. Kowalski has fixed, refurbished, or changed ribbons on about 50 machines.
Brady and Kowalski keep ribbon in stock and for sale to their customers and rent out typewriters for use at special events, photo shoots, and even films. They recently shipped off several vintage typewriters to be part of a new 1960s-set film.
For more information, visit Brady & Kowalski´s website.