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Moonachie, NJ - Unusual Clientele List Keeps New Jersey Typewriter Business Afloat

Published on: August 25, 2013 11:22 AM
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Moonachie, NJ - Despite decades-old predictions that the bulky machines would become obsolete, a New Jersey-based typewriter business remains lucrative thanks to an unusual clientele list—-a list that includes police departments, government agencies, funeral parlors, and surprisingly, prisons.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (http://on.wsj.com/155mzsU) reports that Edward Michael, an executive at Swintec—-a New Jersey-based company and one of the last remaining sellers of typewriters in the U.S.—-said that, while most past uses for traditional typewriters have been phased out, there is still a healthy market for the company’s products due some remaining state laws which require their use in the processing of death certificates, marriage and birth certificates, and police department reports.

Michael said Swintec still sells, on average, between 3,000 and 5,000 typewriters annually.

Michael said that one of the company’s biggest sellers has been the “clear” typewriter, which the company developed specifically for prisons.

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Conceived in the late 1990s, Michael said the clear typewriter has become a prison favorite because it prevents the smuggling of contraband traditionally associated with standard computer components.

According to Michael, Texas inmates, alone, have purchased over 1,500 Swintec typewriters since 2011, since prison officials allow them to have them in their cells because of their transparency.

“Things stick around long after you think they would have disappeared,” says Darren Wershler, a professor at Concordia University in Montreal, who has an extensive knowledge of typewriters.

Michael, who started at Swintec as a traveling salesman in 1985, said Swnitec has flirted with different product lines over the years, but remains committed to selling typewriters as long as there is a market.

“We’re typewriters,” said Michael. “This is our specialty. This is what we know.”


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Read Comments (8)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM OscarMadison Says:

Typewriters are also unhackable. Can't install a keylogger on a typewriter if you have to save your paperwork.

2

 Aug 25, 2013 at 01:06 PM HackInCheinek Says:

very smart of them to go publicizing their little niche limited market! ima go get me some typewriters to sell.

3

 Aug 25, 2013 at 03:12 PM I like typewriters Says:

I bought a reconditioned 1979 IBM Selectric Three typewriter several years ago. Although it required two service calls, I've been very pleased with that product. There are certain things that I can do with the typewriter, which I can't do with my computer printer (i.e. entering information on documents, addressing envelopes, entering payees and amounts on checks). I like the Selectric, especially its correcting feature. Those machines were built to last for decades!

4

 Aug 25, 2013 at 09:07 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

Put one on your desk and do not hire anyone who has seen one before.

5

 Aug 25, 2013 at 10:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
PaulinSaudi Says:

Put one on your desk and do not hire anyone who has seen one before.

My child (who is only about 21) learned to type on one of these in elementary school! That way the teacher could see what they typed, could have them turn in what they typed at the end of the class, and have a clear record of accuracy! She is faster than members of our family who learned on computers!!! So, would you not hire her?

6

 Aug 26, 2013 at 06:42 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

I meant the one's for prison, with clear plastic cases. I went to their website and took a look. Sorry if I was unclear, about clear typewriters.

7

 Aug 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM OPElly Says:

Reply to #4  
PaulinSaudi Says:

Put one on your desk and do not hire anyone who has seen one before.

I'm 63, and I had a hard time finding work after being laid off in 2008. Fortunately, having seen a typewriter (or punchcard equipment) before didn't disqualify me. :-)

You are being facetious, right?

8

 Aug 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM my4amos Says:

Reply to #3  
I like typewriters Says:

I bought a reconditioned 1979 IBM Selectric Three typewriter several years ago. Although it required two service calls, I've been very pleased with that product. There are certain things that I can do with the typewriter, which I can't do with my computer printer (i.e. entering information on documents, addressing envelopes, entering payees and amounts on checks). I like the Selectric, especially its correcting feature. Those machines were built to last for decades!

"There are certain things that I can do with the typewriter, which I can't do with my computer printer (i.e. entering information on documents, addressing envelopes, entering payees and amounts on checks)."

All these things are very easily done with the most primitive computer and the most primitive inkjet or laser printer. Welcome to the 1990s! :)

9

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