Antony Valoppi, proprietor of recently-opened vintage typewriter boutique Type Space (2409 SE 49th Ave.), has a complicated relationship with the machines.
At age 14, newly transplanted from New York to South Carolina, Valoppi enrolled in a school typing course, when an argument over proper technique led the “extremely proficient” two-fingered typist to accidentally hurl his manual device at the instructor.
“After that typing class debacle,” he says, “I never reapproached the typewriter. All of my writing—from prose to poems to plays—was by hand or straight digital input.”
A later visit to Coos Bay’s Marshfield Sun Printing Museum may have sparked an interest in the mechanisms of classic model typewriters, but Valoppi never dreamed of turning his small collection into a business until an extended rehabilitation after a motorcycle accident followed by the COVID shutdown forced him to consider changing careers.
Inside Type Space’s bright, airy showroom, display cases boast a multicolored array of typewriters from every style and era up until the mid-1980s, when Valoppi believes the industry abandoned craftsmanship. The shop’s current inventory of 150-some models includes such historic marvels as an 1830s typographer more closely resembling a Ouija Board and the turn-of-the-century, proto-portable “Five-Pound Secretary.” Several have been priced as low as $75 to encourage curious newcomers first trying their hands.
“They become such personal extensions of your expression,” says Valoppi. “There are collectors who just want a shelf piece, but if you’re going to actually be typing, spend a minute and make sure this machine is the one that combines the right look and feel and efficiency. Like trying on a shirt, it has to fit you.”
Nevertheless, Valoppi envisions Type Space as more of a gallery and salon than a storefront. Weekly courses are planned for both typing tutorials and introductory restoration of the machines themselves. A central table holds several floor models made available for public use. Valoppi hopes to “establish meetups—writers’ workshops, poetry-offs, calligraphy, or just people who want to gather around and brainstorm ideas,” or perhaps just type out a letter for someone.
“If you and a friend want to just hang out, whether or not you’re typing, come on in!” Valoppi chuckles. “You’ll still end up typing.”