“A connection to the past” – North Penn student keeps typewriters and PCs alive


Aidan Simon

Max Wein in his natural environment, making good use of a rare script typewriter.

For North Penn student Maximilian Wein, engineering is much more a way of life than a subject to study at school. Like any dedicated tinkerer, or creative techno-junkie looking for a fix, he effortlessly stretches these skills beyond where most would give up–toiling away, bringing to life a once-forgotten Olympia-branded typewriter or setting up a previously-unloved vintage computer.

Having started at a very young age tinkering with electronics and computers, he found an insatiable curiosity along with inspiration from his grandfather. He moved from working on small electronics to new-at-the-time computers, and finally old typewriters.

“[When] I came across my first typewriter, a 1952 Remington Quiet-Riter, which got me into typewriters in general… my interest in tinkering went from being out of [affordability] to being a sort of drug,” Wein explained.

Even in the digital age, Wein occasionally brings his typewriters to school for the occasional assignment, trying to get as much use out of them for the love of typing.

Straight from the 60s: one of Max's typewriters in a prime configuration to start writing a document.
Straight from the 60s: one of Max’s typewriters in a prime configuration to start writing a document. (Aidan Simon)

“To get the obvious out of the way… I use my typewriters to type up random stuff, whether that be a school assignment, a personal paper, some random bureaucratic nonsense, or just for the sake of typing,” Wein stated.

“Beyond that, with typewriters, there’s a sort of connection that you get to the past through them… Plus, there’s a mechanical eloquence that you don’t get anywhere else,” Wein continued.

Wein had brought in a rare typewriter on Monday to demonstrate. It was a model that could type in cursive, designed for writing letters. He explained that it was mainly used for writing letters and that the seller he had bought it from had barely used it, so it was in nearly perfect condition. Along with cursive, it supported multiple colors of ink, which he kindly showed with a paragraph he typed in eloquent green letters.

Alongside his love for revivifying typewriters, Wein frequently works on keeping old computers working. He uses an old Macbook Air as his laptop of choice for getting through school instead of the standard Chromebooks. He occasionally brings another HP laptop he favorably calls the “Fire Hazard,” commemorating the time when the machine nearly caught fire the first time he worked on it. With these machines referred to affectionately as “craptops,” Wein diligently makes sure these nearly decade-old machines can continue working for him.

With this repertoire of laptops, Wein also maintains a few older machines, such as two “retro” machines from the 1990s running Windows 95 and 3.1 for playing old games.

With college plans swiftly approaching, Wein plans on holding off on his collection of typewriters and computers due to lack of dorm space, but this minor inconvenience is not hindering his plans to continue tinkering well into the future.

“I’ve currently slowed down on collecting and probably would stop almost fully during college, but I will be back at it afterwards… I intend on keeping my collection… until the day I die.”