Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cincinnati's Typewriter Row

Update (2017): Are you looking for a place to buy a classic typewriter in Cincinnati? Visit The Urban Legend Institute, 4041 Hamilton Avenue, 513-541-0930. They are open during the school year Mon-Thurs 2:30-6 and Sat 12-4. I personally refurbish all the typewriters for sale there, and also offer typewriter repair services. E-mail me with questions. —Richard Polt











The Algin Office Equipment Company -- formerly known as Elgin, but some upstart Elgin Corporation sued them and forced the change a few years ago -- boasts six stories of new and used officeana, mostly furniture. They've given me a tour by freight elevator. They say that in the old days, a whole wall used to be filled with typewriters.








A Corona #3 sits quietly in Algin's window display, a reminder of former times, watching the traffic go by.






Here's the Ohio Book Store, a wonderland. In addition to the four stories you can see here, there's a basement where they do bookbinding.






Click this photo to zoom in on their storefront:





Polinsky's is another office furniture store that used to sell typewriters. Online information says they're still located at 210 E. 9th, around the corner from Main Street, but if so, they're well hidden except for this old sign in an alley. (Main Street is full of faded signs painted on brick walls.)


I half expected to find a typewriter amidst this alley junk. No -- only an old catalogue of neckties.



The Player Piano Shop: how many cities can boast one of these?



The Waltz sign is a reminder of a business that has now moved to the suburbs. Since the late 19th century, the company has been a major office machine dealer and repair center. 




Founder F.C. Waltz is responsible for one of the very few typewriter inventions that have come from Cincinnati: a "triple typewriter" combining three Smith Premiers, used for typing multiple copies of tags used in the shoemaking industry.


The Hathaway Stamp Company has been here since 1901. They make rubber stamps and labeling devices. Behind them is Spitzfaden's Office Supplies, a newcomer (since 1956).




On the south side of Spitzfaden's are the former Bay Horse Cafe ("cafe" in Cincinnati means bar) and the Orient, a little Chinese-plus restaurant that serves a mean pad thai.



Would you like to go into Spitzfaden's?



OK, then.




Paperless office, shmaperless office...



Payroll Tablets, Employee's Attendance Record, Purchase Requisition, Treasurer's Warrant, Bill of Sale ... we don't need no stinkin' apps, we've got forms.



You are now approaching the typewriter and adding machine ribbon corner ...



The mysterious drawers ...



... open to reveal their treasure.





Read more about Spitzfaden's in this post by Robert Messenger and this one (including a history of the company).