Hartford Was the Typewriter Capital of the Country
In the second season of the Netflix series, House of Cards, the protagonist Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, pulls out an old family typewriter, an Underwood of course, to write a pseudo-heartfelt letter to the President.
Frank's father gave him the typewriter saying this Underwood built an empire. Now you go build another.
That first Underwood empire was based in Hartford. So was the Royal typewriter empire. These were the machines on which the business prose of America was written, but also much of its poetry. These were the machines used by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Falkner, Kerouac. Ian Fleming wrote his Bond novels on a Royal and one reason Frank Underwood digs out the old typewriter I think, is the implied personal nature of the machine. Every typewriter had its own signature.
We're live today from a typewriter exhibit in New Britain. Click! Clack! Ding! The American Typewriter runs from March 8 through June 1 at the New Britain Museum of American Art. The opening reception is Thursday, March 13, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm.
- Greg Fudacz is a typewriter collector, typewriter enthusiast and a pseudo typewriter historian
- Walter Woodward is an associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut State Historian