Cascades of Bremerton resident Bob Montgomery has been repairing typewriters for decades -and he just might be the last person left in the area with a business devoted solely to the manual machines. Some weeks he’s busy helping people who bring in their antique-shop finds or those who still love their IBMs; 13 million were made from 1961 to 1986.
The Corona he’s repairing in the photo is a century old and predates Corona Typewriter’s merger with L.C. Smith & Brothers in 1926. In his crammed Bremerton repair shop, Bob continues to indulge in a love for typewriters that began at age 7.
Bob loves to tell stories and his mind is sharp when recalling details about machines manufactured a hundred years ago. His eyesight is good and his hand steady; he uses magnifying glasses to work with tweezers on delicate parts. When you walk into his shop, you’re transported to a different world. Bob’s father worked for Underwood Typewriters in 1902, while also working at a stationary store in Seattle.
As a child, Bob’s first job was putting ribbon in the typewriters. He was drafted into the Army during World War II, but he didn’t get too far with a gun. Rather, it was his way around a typewriter that the military found useful and Bob was happy to repair units wherever he was s
At the end of the war, Kitsap, WA lacked a steady repairman, so it was a good place for Bob to set up shop with his father. Thousands of little parts are stored in drawers and plastic boxes, and Bob is the only one who knows which specific model any little gizmo might be for.
Bob is a resident at Cascades of Bremerton’s The Willows Independent Retirement Community. Five days a week, he is up early and catches the bus to his shop and rides the bus home each evening. He can talk up a storm, pulling from 93 years’ worth of memories and prized typewriter
knowledge. Besides the machines, Bob’s other big love is the Bremerton Community Theater. He has acted in or been a part of more than 145 shows, one as recently as two months ago.