The Reason: Well, it's right there on the TWDB logo, "To Collect and Preserve". There's a century worth of collected typewriter repair knowledge out there in out-of-print and likely never to be reprinted material. Knowledge that needs to be found, preserved and disseminated in order for future generations of typewriter repair professionals and enthusiasts to know what the heck they're doing to their machines, what tool to do it with and what tolerance the widget needs to be adjusted to for optimum performance. There is also valuable historical data in these texts, often hidden between the lines, which can tell us quite a bit about when certain mechanical feature changes happened and why - and that part fits the TWDB mission of researching accurate age lists. Thus was born Operation: OOPRAP, or the Out-Of-Print Reference Archive Project.

The Goal: to collect and archive high-resolution, printable PDFs of every parts and service manual and service bulletin put out by a typewriter manufacturer, ever, and the same for any general typewriter repair and maintenance book now out-of-print and probably vanishingly rare. To create a library of the base source knowledge in the field through the 20th Century to inform collectors, enthusiasts and future mechanics in the 21st Century and beyond.

The Upshot: Here's a collection of out-of-print and increasingly rare typewriter industry books on USB thumb drive, since we seem to have managed to collect a sizable amount of them. This collection continues to grow as we get PDFs from other collectors and continue to obtain and scan such manuals ourselves. It is the seed sown in the hopes that it will grow towards being a complete resource for present and future scholars. We find these resources invaluable in our own research and we hope you will as well.

We're formulating limits on what we will be including, which will be all Manual machines and older Electrics (pre-1980 oughta do it), but will not include electronic wedges - although we'll take those if we get 'em. Basically anything that could conceivably be fixable as they age in coming decades. We're concentrating on Typewriter Repair: General and Factory Parts/Service Manuals, but you'll notice some new categories like "Typewriter Age Lists", "Typeface Catalogs", "Typing Instruction" and "Typewriter User Manuals", which indicates a move towards including a wider array of industry publications not specifically related to repair. They relate in terms of understanding the history of the industry holistically, and it's all research to us.

The bulk of this collection as of release 001 comes from the shelves of a typewriter shop that has been open since 1948, and has been owned by three generations of Wahls. Mesa Typewriter Exchange dealt mainly in Olympia, Olivetti and Smith-Corona, so that forms the bulk of the current collection along with a nearly full collection of Brother service manuals from the estate of repairman Ed Sanders. We have a lot of IBM stuff thanks to the efforts of and the old IBM Composer site. The rest has been donated from many collections of enthusiasts from around the world.

Total OOPRAP Growth in scanned documents from V001 to V003: 373 to 787
  • Repair General: 26 to 44
  • Factory Parts/Service Manuals: 161 to 252
  • Typewriter Age Lists: 20 to 21
  • Typeface Catalogs: 25 to 30
  • Typewriter User Manuals: 131 to 420
  • Typing Instruction: 10 to 20