The library’s current Community ArtShare exhibit is a fascinating variety of cool machines that many young people will only know about if they’ve seen pictures on the Internet—although even the kids may recognize that most of these units have—a keyboard! Local resident Pat Burg has her collection of typewriters on display at the library..
Typewriters have a historical Wisconsin connection, as the first typewriter developed for commercial use was the Sholes & Glidden Type Writer, which began production in late 1873 in Milwaukee.
Pat’s passion for typewriters shows through in this backstory:
A summer DNR Auction really fueled my passion for collecting almost anything with keys and a keyboard. They were bidding on a lot of electric comptometers (fancy heavy clunky calculators of the 40s and 50s)…at the end, there were about 20 left with the one I wanted still there. They put up the lot of 20 for bid, I said $1 and they were mine. My long suffering husband Tom and I lugged them home. After this start, we seemed to find typewriters and adding machines at every rummage sale, antique shop and auction. Amazingly there was little competition for these beautiful and intriguing machines. Many would just turn up on my doorstep, or were birthday and holiday gifts as Tom would find some new treasure and lug it home for me - sometimes with a bit of gold ribbon tied to it. From there I branched out into wood and metal type - my Dad found me a small Kelsey Printing Press, Tom found a printer who was going out of business and got me some great metal type - although the small type was already in a box for the scrap yard so to this day (probably 20 years or so) it is still not sorted out. I culled my collection a year ago from 300 machines to 180 or so along with a few early electric cash registers, a teletype machine, etc. I probably still love the typewriters the best - I don't know if I have a favorite, but the some of the more interesting are the Calligraph - in the display, the early "ball" typewriters from the late 1890s Hammond and Chicago, a Fox typewriter made in Appleton, WI, and on the other end of the spectrum a cheap white plastic Russian typewriter. While many of my machines are not in pristine condition, they all have some kind of a story to tell and I kind of like the way they look a bit ruffed up and used. I hope you enjoy some of my treasures and maybe they will instill a new hobby or interest for you!
Please visit the library to view this amazing exhibit and all the wondrous things our library has to offer. T. B. Scott Free Library’s “Beyond Books: Community ArtShare” features a new exhibit every two months on an ongoing basis. The program was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Mead Witter Foundation, Inc. of Wisconsin Rapids.