In 1955 George applied for an apprenticeship with a local office equipment firm in Hastings, and was indentured for a six year term as a typewriter mechanic. The first year he was the general dogs body to the more senior engineers, getting their teas etc but learning all the time. The second year, he along with older colleagues covered firms all over East Sussex, servicing their varied office machines, and also visited several famous authors, servicing their beloved typewriters. Before computers these writers valued their typewriters as essential assets.
He entered National service in 1960-1962, and was in an exclusive RAOC unit supporting field operations by the Parachute regiment in Europe and Africa. He returned to the firm as a qualified engineer, and after several years, the business was taken over by a much larger company, and eventually he was promoted to service manager, with ten engineers working under him. In that period he engaged apprentices, including his son Neil. He personally trained them in all aspects of work for five years, whilst he removed the old methods of ‘tea boys’ and errand runners which he endured, and fully concentrated on all aspects of being engineers.
In 1986 after several more company changes, George and Neil left to open their own business, and his wife Joan ran the accounts and served in the shop. The business became established and later they opened a larger showroom premises in nearby Bexhill and became sales and servicing engineers. In the 1980’s there was a natural downturn in the typewriter trade, as more modern electronic equipment became the norm, dictation machines, fax machines and printers etc.
Later they became aware that typewriter repairs were beginning to increase again, and sales of vintage typewriters became more and more requested. The young and old were now concentrating on the more finely designed retro manufacturers.
Now we see many old models for sale on websites at increasing prices, however they have had no specialist attention after years of neglect, and we are regularly contacted to repair and service these models. Our own vintage typewriters have all been through extensive servicing and renovation, before going on sale.
George is by now regarded as a known specialist in this field, and has appeared in several BBC interviews. He has also featured in major articles for English and foreign newspapers, who are interested in the resurgence of vintage typewriters.
His firm has supplied typewriters for many famous celebrity presenters and actors, in film and television. In 2016 our typewriters have been supplied to current film companies for use in major productions and also for television adds, for quality props to enhance their products.
The most recent contact from the BBC and other media, was when it become known that George was the engineer who serviced and repaired the typewriter owned by author Winston Graham. For many years he typed all his Poldark novels on this machine.
George realises that new generations have no knowledge of mechanical typing, but are now becoming interested in how complex and clever the designers of these retro models were. There are now many serious collectors of fine retro typewriters throughout Europe and U.S.A. Many of these fine models feature as examples of design in museums.
Now George and Neil are passing on their skills to our younger business partner Gavin Eldridge, to keep the work going.