Where to buy a typewriter in Cincinnati

by | Mar 16, 2011 | Uncategorized | 19 comments

Update, October 2020: If you’re looking to buy a typewriter in Cincinnati, keep in mind Urban Legend Typewriters, benefiting WordPlay Cincy. I, Richard Polt, recondition the typewriters on sale and offer typewriter service and repair (contact me with questions at polt@xavier.edu). We have ribbons and typewriter pads, too. During the pandemic, we are currently not open for business, but feel free to write to me and I may be able to help.

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And now for my blog post from 2011 …

Hamilton Avenue, Northside, Cincinnati:

Park Chili — a classic greasy spoon. Cincinnati “chili” is a cinnamony meat sauce invented by Greek immigrants in the 1920s, served over spaghetti with cheese on top. Very popular here.

This shop, Chicken Lays An Egg, has found an innovative way to display its name: the static on an old TV shines through cut-out letters.

The local Ace Hardware is the Spitzfaden’s of hardware stores — tiny aisles crammed with everything you could imagine.

Within a few months, the coffee shop will be full of typists, and Vick’s will be competing with Shake It to see who can sell the most typewriters … right?!

PS: Sidewinder did have a Royal KMM on display in recent memory, and I recommend it as a place to meet a friend for conversation behind the building while rabbits scamper under your chairs (RP, 2020).


  1. Ted

    Sounds like an awesome way to spread the Gospel of the Typosphere! :D

  2. mpclemens

    There's got to be overlap in the vinyl-loving and typer-loving realms. Just gotta be. Great idea, Richard!

  3. Art

    Dude that's totally awesome!

    Very jealous of your part of town–looks like a mad cool place to wander around.

  4. Michael

    Wow! Wotta town! And there's nothing so exciting as the potential of a good idea. Good for you!

  5. Duffy Moon

    I'll be in Cinci again for a few days at the end of March to the beginning of April.
    Spitzfadens is definitely on my list. And now it appears my list may be growing.

  6. Duffy Moon

    Or maybe the locals call it "Cincy"? I don't get to the big city that often. Excuse my ignorance.

  7. Machines of Loving Grace

    Richard, your photo tours have once again convinced me that I simply must visit again, for longer next time–if not move there.

    Up 'til now, the local politics have kept the city on my "probably don't wanna live there" list.

  8. Anonymous

    That is a great idea and looks like a perfect place. I don't know about other typospherians but I like vinyl just as much as typewriters, so it would be a perfect match.

  9. MTCoalhopper

    Is there a wrong place to sell typewriters? As with some other addictive things, buying and selling is less restricted than where you are allowed to enjoy your guilty pleasures.

    What would transpire on a day-to-day basis in the dream shop you propose? Conflict? Drama? Anything worth writing a novel about?

  10. Rob Bowker

    Richard, you are a bloomin' evangelist! Hope the machines sell.

  11. Anonymous

    Not to jump on board to some kind of lame "hipster-bashing" meme, but I am thinking about a typewriter shop in the mode of the record store from "High Fidelity." Young typewriter know-it-alls harassing customers for wanting lame, mass-market typewriters. Wait, how would that work?

  12. notagain

    that's very cool. I may have to try that with King's Books. I noticed – was it intentional? – that you put up machines without glass keys to start with.

  13. Richard P

    Thanks for the encouraging comments. I'll let you all know how it goes.

    If I'd shown you a more typical Cincinnati neighborhood it would have been much duller, believe me.

    notagain: I didn't think about the glass keys. But you're right, it's good the machines don't have them — God forbid a chopper should walk in and drag the poor victims off to its lair!

    twentyfourhourolympia: that is a hilarious idea for a skit. "Oh … a Royal. Bold choice there, pal. Me, I think I'll stick to my 1903 Kanzler no. 1 with Cyrillic keyboard. But to each his own."

    MTCoalhopper: Maybe that is a NaNo in the making … anyone is free to use the idea of a typewriter shop as a venue for a story! I had imagined that it could, at least, become a good place for NaNoists to meet each other in the flesh.

    Duffy Moon: one and all are welcome to look me up when you're in The 'Nati, as cool people call it. (I wouldn't know, I'm not one of them.)

  14. Duffy Moon

    I'm working on my itenerary now. I'll send you an email.
    Certainly makes me want to visit this area.
    But this time, Spitzfadens is a definite must-see.

  15. Ryan

    I enjoyed the virtual tour of your neighborhood amazing. I should do the same with my lovely hood also.

  16. rino breebaart

    I think a typer shop would still work. Maybe as a front for something else ;-). No, seriously, I think you've found the right pocket of shops and vibe to make it happen. Lots of paper & notebooks, gift baubles and of course typewriter parts (and service) and ribbons and fine pens etc… And some of those building look like they could tell plenty of stories.

    For reference:

  17. Richard P

    Beautiful shot, Rino. There is nothing as exciting as an old typewriter shop …

  18. notagain

    curious how this experiment is coming along.

  19. Richard P

    Well, I checked in around August and didn't see the Royal, but the Smith-Corona was still there, looking a little disheveled. The shop owner hasn't been begging me to supply new typewriters.

    So I'd say the experiment is not a notable success. Maybe I should have picked prettier machines!


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