No more “Star Office Machines”.

Star Office Machines.My typewriter mechanic, Ermanno Marzorati, is selling the business.  This is a crushing blow.  

It’s like I’m losing my best friend.  I put on a black dress and went over there today to say “goodbye”.  

He and his assistant have worked together for 34 years.  

Ermanno says another company will take over his business — a “friend” — but he doesn’t know what he’ll do next.   

“I need a break,” he said.

I looked around the almost-empty shop.

Gone were the machines he’d labored over for years and years.

Gone were the portables in their battered cases.  The dusty beige Brothers that Staples mass produced.  The dark green Smith Coronas, the Remingtons with their shiny black bodies.  Gone, broken bodies and missing keys. An eerie graveyard with all the bodies missing.

“It’s the Olympia again,” I said.  “Third time — the carriage doesn’t pull.”

Ermanno looked.   “See how this left side doesn’t twist?” he said.  “That’s part of it.”

I held up a  typewriter ribbon.  They’d carted out boxes and boxes of machines already.   I could see shelves with nothing on them.  It was like looking at a woman without her clothes.  I averted my eyes.  I didn’t want to stare.

“Where will I order these?” I asked, desperation rising, trying not to wail.  Finding a ribbon in town is like finding a unicorn.

No office supply store carries them.

“Pedro will help.”  Ermanno soothed.  “He’ll be at the new place.”

I looked around, but there was no sign of Pedro.

“He’ll be back,” Ermanno promised.

The whole thing seemed very strange.  Ermanno with no plan.  Pedro in the back at a new store, at the whim of the new owner.

“The carriage is not working,” Ermanno diagnosed, bringing my attention back to my sick baby.  We looked at the ribbon that was no longer spooling.

“I lies there like spaghetti,” I offered, trying to make it seem more exciting.

I watched them fill out the last work order, and I made sure my phone number was listed.

Ermanno gave me a hug.  I told him I’d dressed up for him.  He apologized for the pizza stain on his shirt.

“You’re moving,” I empathized.  “I didn’t expect you to be tidy today.”

We didn’t say ‘goodbye’.  It was too painful for me, and I could tell Ermanno was weary.  The phone rang again and he walked off.

I left my typewriter in the darkened shop, and I felt like a bloodless mother must feel who abandons her baby in a dumpster. I didn’t want

to, but it was the best thing for it.  I couldn’t look back.   I will pick it up from Pedro when he calls.  In the meantime, it’s the end of an era…

and there will never be another Star Office Machines.


  1. Mario Chávez
    April 7, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I have loved typewriters since my teens. I am now the owner of five, including a beautiful IBM Selectric III, purchased at a thrifstore for a song. I feel your pain; losing an artisan who can diagnose what’s wrong with our machine is like losing our favorite vet. I hope you can find a solution for your typewriter carriage soon.

  2. Steve Soboroff
    Steve Soboroff
    April 8, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Don’t care where he goes, but Ermanno will always take care of my typewriter collection

    • Erica Di Bona
      Erica Di Bona
      April 8, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      I know that Ermanno will always look out for your ‘babies’.
      I am sad to see the shop close. It has been my favorite place
      to go to ‘kick the tires’ and admire beauties like the ones
      of yours that Ermanno nursed back to health. Hope we can meet
      sometime soon — Louise A. Marler is a friend and fellow
      typewriter admirer, and it would be fun to have coffee and talk
      keyboards. Erica Di Bona

  3. Helmut Schulze
    April 24, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I am that Friend of Ermanno.
    We here at REES will carry that Typewriter torch on for a while.
    Pedro formally at Star will work for REES as a contractor.
    Anyone who wants to drop of an antique or oldie we will receive and handle
    for Ermanno.
    The address is 2140 Westwood Blvd. # 224 LA. CA 90025 NE of Olympic. Tel # 310-475-0859

    • Harvey
      October 29, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Is Ermanno still helping people with vintage typewriters?
      Thank you,

  4. Harvey
    May 3, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I am sad. I found, first from recommendations from (purchased Olivetti’s, Olympia’s) and 2 others; then, while watching the Typewriter movie… “typewriters are my love, like a beautiful woman…” I was (perhaps) one of your last new customers and am sad. I am happy for you, we BOTH retired the same time, so I understand. It’s just that, I discovered you and Olivetti’s, then “poof” no Ermanno! Please stay in touch…. I still need your email add? Gracie, Harvey (Ito, like the “judge”).

  5. Samuel Trujillo
    Samuel Trujillo
    December 17, 2015 at 1:23 am

    Sorry to read about the demise of a wonderful shop.
    I live in NJ and have 30 years experience with mostly IBM Typewriters if someone needs help up here.
    732 406 3477

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