At the height of the typewriter industries importance in world commerce, arguably right about 1960, setting yourself up as a typewriter repair shop was something you could do out of a catalog. In the United States, you could do it out of the AMES General catalog, and the little typewriter shop from whom I borrowed this catalog to scan is well-equipped still with gear ordered straight out of this catalog. In fact, I dropped by Bill’s shop yesterday and found him replacing the electrical cord on his No. 146 “PRES TO HEAT” Soldering Iron, as the original cord had finally fossilized enough in the past 50 years that it had become dangerous to use. Many of the tools in this catalog are recognizable on Bill’s workbench, still servicing the needs of broken typewriters in the hands of the grandson of the man who originally purchased the tools.
So yeah, good tools. AMES continued in business up into the 21st century. I have a typewriter that I had sent to AMES to get the platen and feed rollers replaced, and I heard soon after I got the machine back that AMES had finally closed its doors. That machine was probably one of the last machines ever to get the AMES Futuristic Galaxie Platen and Feed Roll job, and it was beautifully done, even right there at the last. I really doubt you could still have ordered everything that is shown in this catalog in 2011, but I bet you could still have got a lot of it. What happened to the remaining inventory of AMES is unknown.