Tom Hanks is best known for his global stardom as an Academy Award-winning actor. However, in one niche industry, he’s also known for an impressive collection that, as of late, he’s been generously sharing with others.
Since the 1970s, Hanks has been a passionate typewriter collector with a collection that spans nearly 250 typewriters. Now, the actor is sharing the wealth of his antique machines — he’s been mailing out typewriters from his personal collection to shops around the country.
“They’re just showing up on doorsteps unannounced,” said Tom Furrier, owner of Cambridge Typewriter in Massachusetts, per ABC. Furrier was sent an Olympia SM4 typewriter from the early 1960s.
Over the past month, Hanks has sent typewriters to at least four small shops around the country that share his love for the vintage typing machines — all signed and sent in green towels with the actor’s production company logo, Playtone, and a personal letter from the actor.
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“It is yours now,” reads the letter to Furrier, “Take good care of it and halp [sic] it keep doing it’s [sic] job for another hundred years.” (Wite-Out for the typical typewriter typos, not included.)
— Kirsten Glavin (@kirstenglavin) April 6, 2023
“If there was a patron saint of typewriters, he was it,” Scott Connors of Stephentown Typewriter Company in New York, told ABC.
It’s unclear how many shops have received the personalized donations from Hanks and how many he intends to gift to others, but in 2019, the actor told The New York Times he began giving away some of his collection and was down to about 120. Eventually, he told the outlet, his goal was to reduce his collection to just one typewriter: the Olivetti Lettera 22, the same model on display at the MoMA in New York City.
Hanks received his first typewriter when he was 19, and as he continued collecting them, his passion only grew.
“They’re brilliant combinations of art and engineering,” he told The New York Times. “Every machine is as individual as a set of fingerprints. Every time you type something on a typewriter, it is a one-of-a-kind work of art.”
However, fans of Hanks and typewriter enthusiasts don’t necessarily need to own an antique storefront in the hopes of getting a personal letter from Hanks. According to two recipients of Hank’s typewriters, if you mail him a letter, he’s a “reliable correspondent,” per ABC.
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