Amendment to this post: note that it is not a critique or endorsement. It’s an observation about marketing strategy. OK, with that said:
I’m going to officially declare (where are the officials to make this official?) that we’ve arrived at a tipping point in the sale of tricked out typers online with my recent discovery of Kasbah Mod (thanks to a colleague for the tip). “Now the Biggest Retailer of Ace-Quality Vintage Typewriters in New York City.” (The biggest? To set itself apart from the crowded New York market for vintage refurbed typewriters?) Let’s set discussion of prices aside (their prices seem pretty standard for refurbed typewriters aimed at non-collectors) and focus on the hot rod paint jobs (click through to page two for some notable examples, the site doesn’t let one link to specific machines). Typewriters have been marketed as style pieces for some time, but I think New York is taking this to a new level at the moment (Brady & Kowalski is another example), and I’d be shocked if other businesses don’t soon follow suit.
Perhaps the market has been goosed by Jessica Bruder’s New York Times piece with which most typecastinistas are familiar, appearing as it did on the style page. Let me say this: although the typosphere has been painting ‘writers for some time, note that New York has fired the starting gun on a general trend of bucks to be made from refurbished, repainted typewriters, marketed stylishly, and promoted on teh social medias to the young whippersnappers. Mind you, this is a different spin than sturdy machines for serious writers (which is how typewriter resellers have marketed them up to this turning point), and depends upon eye-catching paint jobs and gorgeous web sites (eBay won’t do. Is there a web site, incidentally, that is uglier and more out-of-date looking than eBay?).
If you’re handy with web design, a paint gun and three-in-one oil, I suggest you grab your gold pan and start sifting up big profits in your neck of the woods.