Shopping for Typewriters Al Fresco

Karen Plourde, Editor Weavers Way Shuttle

Twenty-eight steps from the front door of Weavers Way Mt. Airy sits the WPM Typewriter Shop — that’s right, typewriters. And behind the shop is the larger-than-you’d expect Garden of Typewriters — a shaded, art-filled spot that now doubles as a retail space while WPM stays closed due to COVID-19.

Pamela Rogow, owner of the property and shop, has lived and worked on site for more than two decades. Her maternal grandmother, Ruth Kauffman, contracted the Spanish flu in 1918, which the family believes led to her getting Parkinson’s disease at a young age. So when coronavirus arrived, Rogow shut her doors, came up with a plan for how to work nearby with her repair team, and began a shipping service.

As spring progressed, Rogow came up with the idea of displaying some of the models she has for sale in the garden.

“In several ways, this is a more efficient and enjoyable business model,” she said. “The birds chirp endlessly. The pond burbles.”

Rogow schedules appointments (weather permitting) for interested customers one individual or household at a time.

“We first chat with interested folks about how they might use a typewriter,” she said. “For themselves or a child? A gift? Home-schooling? Decor?”

Most mornings, she sets out a selection of 10 to 20 electric and manual machines for customers to consider. All the models are warrantied.

The garden opened for the first time in 2019 for community use. Rogow credits neighbor Lindsay Weightman with establishing a vision for the site a few years ago after 20-plus years of benign neglect. Last year, her efforts were recognized by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which awarded a blue ribbon for the space’s design.

The garden features a Seussian bird house village, a Talavera tile bird bath, vintage aluminum carousel animals, botanical art wall installations and more. There’s also a small staging area for intimate performances.

With cooler weather on the way, Rogow will likely need to shift gears again. Meanwhile, the garden is available for passersby to take a peek, for typewriter enthusiasts to schedule a visit, for Co-op staff to find respite, and for small private milestone celebrations for ten or less.