Tom Hanks is Bringing Back Typewriters


Tom Hanks poses with his typewriter collection. Credit: California Typewriters

Typewriters may seem outdated, but Interestingly enough, actor Tom Hanks who stars in Forest Gump, Castaway, You've Got Mail, and many other classics, is an avid typewriter collector. As unusual as this collection may seem, Hanks puts his love of vintage typewriters into words anyone can understand. He says, "They're brilliant combinations of art and engineering. Every time you type something on a typewriter, it is a one-of-a-kind work of art."


Hank's favorite and most prominent models in his collection include an Olympia Model SM8, an LC Smith Corona that he takes everywhere, an IBM Selectric I, and a Hermes 3000. Hanks says, "What thrills me about typewriters, is that they are meant to do one thing and one thing only and with the tiniest amount of effort and maintenance, it will last a thousand years."


Hanks even uses typewriters as a way to encourage and connect to others. In 2020, when Hanks and his wife were quarantined in Australia due to the Corona Virus pandemic, he received a letter from an eight-year-old boy named Corona De Vries. The boy told Hanks that he was getting bullied in school because of his name. The boy explained that other kids were calling him Corona Virus, making him feel "sad and angry." In response, Hanks sent the boy a Smith Corona typewriter with a hand-typed letter that said, "You have a friend in me."


Hank's love of typewriters doesn't stop with just collecting; he also creates. Hanks writes on his typewriter every day, even if it's just to type up a grocery list. In 2017 Hanks published his collection of short stories Uncommon Type, inspired by his love of typewriters. Each story has typewriters incorporated within them. Hanks also developed and released an app that is available on iPhones called HanX Writer. The app gives your computer, tablet, or mobile device a keyboard that looks, feels, and sounds like a typewriter.


Hanks encourages everyone to go out and experience the feeling of using a typewriter. He says it's unlike anything else, and the best thing about using a typewriter is “the thrill of the hunt, the mechanics, the tactile experience, the permanence of type on paper, the unique sounds — the shook and the click-clack-ding — that only a typewriter can give.” Any way you look at it, Hanks is definitely bringing typewriters back.

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