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Typewriter is still king at this 100-year-old Pasadena firm

Typewriter store

The past is present at a company that opened exactly 100 years ago in Old Pasadena. It was born as the Anderson Typewriter Co. but is now Anderson Business Technology.

It is still a family business and still on Colorado Boulevard. And it still repairs typewriters.

Don Anderson, who started working at father C. Elmer Anderson’s shop during World War II, has seen the manual typewriter give way to the electric, then the word processor and finally the computer. But customer service never goes out of style, the 84-year-old said.

He and son David Anderson, who took the helm in 1984, celebrated last week with an event that included a display of antique typewriters, some dating to the 1800s.

Guests tested their speed and accuracy on a 1938 Royal typewriter, the model Don Anderson used for typing classes at Marshall Junior High School, now Marshall Fundamental.

The winner was Bob Ralston, a former organist for "The Lawrence Welk Show," who typed 48.5-words per minute.

Don Anderson remembers they heyday of the typewriter, in the 1930s.

“Back then they came out with a new typewriter every year or two, but in the last 20 years it’s been constant change,” he said. “David came along at the right time. He was young and willing to learn.”

But typewriters haven’t totally disappeared, with nostalgic customers bringing the machines in for repairs two or three times a week, he said.

Calvin and Phyllis Smith, owners of the Bickley Printing Co. that was founded in 1906, recently brought a machine in for repair. He fills special print requests on his 1940s linotype machine while she adds a personal touch by tapping out invoices on her 1950s Royal.

David Anderson, 54, switched the company’s specialty from typewriters to fax machines and copy machines, and now the latest in wireless printer-copiers. He changed the company name in 1995.

“We’ve always had a service component, and that’s mostly what we do today on the printer and copier side of things,” he said.

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— Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

Photo: Don Anderson, left, during the 100th anniversary celebration. Credit: Cheryl A. Guerrero / Pasadena Sun

 
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