By: Jen Russon
Few teenagers are an open book on early 20th-century history and textiles, but Patton Horton, dubbed an “old soul” by the people who know him best, is a rare exception. He not only prefers typewriters to computers, but he can also fix them.
The recently anointed Eagle Scout and college-bound 18-year-old developed an interest in the Oliver 9 print-type typewriter while writing his first novel.
“The story wasn’t going anywhere on my computer. I decided to try writing on a typewriter and instantly felt inspired,” said Horton.
His creative surge makes sense given the way Horton dresses and speaks. He wears a pocket watch, Thomas Edison-inspired wire frame glasses, and his vocabulary is like something out of an old radio show.
With friends and family certain Horton is reincarnated, it seems logical one of his favorite haunts is Our Backyard Museum in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. It wasn’t long before he spotted the old typewriter on display during one of his many visits, where he accurately guessed it was broken.
“The darn thing probably hadn’t worked in 50 years,” Horton said, citing what he called a ‘plethora’ of problems.
The museum agreed to let him take the 1921 model typewriter home and repair it. Horton said he didn’t charge them after transporting the machine back in perfect working order.
“After one month of blood, sweat, and tears, the product of my labor is now on display at the museum,” Horton wrote on Facebook, hopeful the typewriter would enhance his resume and become part of a growing portfolio of repair work.
“I do usually charge for repairs. It depends on what’s wrong with said machine and the hours it takes to repair it,” said Horton.
To repair typewriters, he first makes a diagnosis. Then calculates the estimated charge. Horton orders missing parts from the rubber plant, JJ Shorts, and his rates include a $50 charge for servicing and cleaning.
The work is tedious, he says, but not too labor-intensive, adding the part he enjoys the most is keeping in constant touch with clients.
“I keep a log to maintain an accurate estate of my work. Research is not included in the time for the repair,” he said.
The Tamarac teen added that as much as he loves repairing things, his chosen field is marine biology. Horton gained early acceptance into the Wilkes Honors College at FAU last year.
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- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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