Dead or Resurrected?
A Short Story of the Manual Portable Typewriter

About the Author
L. Neale Clifton

You may wonder, "How does this guy know anything about manual portable typewriters, other than maybe how to type?"

It is nice to know a person giving you information has a little background concerning the subject. There is no reason to bore
you with lots of stuff, so here is just a little information. I quickly explain this by  introducing you to my own "typewriter" family.
I think you will find it amazing how young we all look in the following pictures.
 


                                         Buford J. (Cliff) Clifton

Buford J. Clifton, Father
Buford J. Clifton
My father, Buford J. Clifton, worked at Modern Typewriter, Welch, West Virginia, in the 1930's, then owned his own business, Clifton Typewriter Exchange, as a Royal dealer, in Beckley and Crab Orchard, West Virginia until after WW2 began.  After moving to Portsmouth, Virginia in 1942 he worked in Norfolk Naval Shipyard. After the war, he eventually found himself back in the office equipment business, first as a technician at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk, VA, and  as the Service Manager for a Norfolk, Virginia firm, A. C. Simms, a Royal and Victor dealer - R.C.. Allen, then a Hermes dealer. 

 
 
                             L. Neale Clifton
Neale Clifton aboard U.S.S Shenandoah AD26
This is me, working hard in the typewriter shop, aboard the U.S.S. Shenandoah (AD-26), in 1958.

Now, I am enjoying my own business, as an Olympia dealer, 
Clifton Commercial Concepts

in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Being a normal son, I didn't take my father's advice when he told me to get into another type of business. I found the business to be enjoyable and quite interesting. 
Before going into the Navy, I had already been employed at Wescott Company in Norfolk, Virginia. Over a period of time, Wescott was a Woodstock, R. C. Allen, Olivetti, Adler and Olympia dealer. I started at the bottom, dismantling and cleaning machines for the technicians, delivered equipment, installed supplies, and swept floors, etc. I still worked at Wescott on a part time basis while in the Navy. Sales was added to my duties at that time.  After leaving the service I went back to Wescott as a technician and salesman, then Janet's Typewriter Service, a Facit dealer in Portsmouth, Virginia, as a technician and salesman, Underwood Corporation in Norfolk as a technician, before and during the transition period from Underwood to Olivetti, learning all the products available at the time. I eventually returned to Wescott Co. as a technician, then Service manager, Vice President and salesman.   During this period, I gained experience in many other areas of the office equipment business, as well. 

 
 
 
                                     Kathy Clifton
Katherine W. Clifton
Katherine W. Clifton

 
 

My wife, Kathy, got into the act also.  She sold office equipment and supplies for awhile at Wescott Company. Kathy has been very supportive over the years of 
listening to me talk about the typewriter business.  She is now working with me in our business, 
Clifton Commercial Concepts. in Portsmouth, Virginia.  

No longer in business 

 


 
 
                                                       Neale (Cliff) Clifton, Jr.
Cliff Clifton
Neale Clifton, Jr.  ( Cliff) 

Our son, Neale, Jr., or, Cliff,  is also a normal son who chose, against his father's advice to go into the typewriter (office equipment) business. He has been in this business since 
1976 and, except for a short sojourn to an Oklahoma  office equipment company, has been employed by Wescott Company in Norfolk, Virginia, as a technician  and salesman. He is an accomplished technician in everything from the manual typewriter to the electric and electronic models, electronic calculators. addressing systems, parking access systems, mechanical and electronic payroll systems, programming, and other things I can't even remember. You would have to ask him whether or not he likes the business. 
Cliff left Wescott Company in February 2006.

 

In all this length of time I hope to have either learned or assimilated knowledge about the typewriter (office equipment)
business from the many fine people I have had the privilege to meet.

I hope you enjoy these pages dedicated to the portable typewriting machine.


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Modified 12 July 2011