Dirk van Weelden

March 30, 2012

Making money with a typewriter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dirk van Weelden @ 9:55 pm


This little booklet was published by a Dutch publisher of popular business courses and self help books in the fifties. In this Yellow Success Booklet-series of books on how to enhance your skills as a salesman or ‘what to read to improve yourself’, Mrs R.W. Doodewaard-Godschalk published this tome, number 43,  entitled ‘Making money with a typewriter’.

In the book she explains the importance of setting up good relations with a cyclostyle service, to be able to offer inexpensively reproduced newsletters and flyers to shopkeepers. Small businesses, like tailors or hairdressers, can be offered the service to send their clients typed instead of handwritten invoices. Footballclubs, associations of people in a certain trade or profession, hobby-clubs, all have to send letters and invitations to their members. The idea is that the ‘typist’ offers to do the writing, or be the editor of this kind of material. What this book basically teaches is to be a mobile copy-writer, who also takes care of printing. All done with a portable typewriter and thanks to good relations with a printshop.

Ofcourse most of Mrs Godschalk’s advice has to do with the right approach, the well timed convincing example used by competitors, the importance of discretion and the necessity of speedy and tidy work. One of the most fetching paragraphs is about how to get business from strangers, meaning people from out of town or foreigners. Reading it I imagined a hotel lobby in the fifties, the guy with the typewriter smooching with the desk clerk, adjusting his tie and checking his nicely groomed (Brillcream!) hair in a mirror, shuffling the calling cards he kept from previous occasions. He is sitting in an easy chair, the case with the typewriter at his feet. He smokes while he waits for the call from his client upstairs.

I have translated it and typed it on the fifties Lettera 22, which could have been used by people like him, in the business of making money with a typewriter.



  1. That’s cool! Thanks for translating & sharing.

    Comment by maschinengeschrieben — March 30, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

  2. Geweldig. Briljante post, met een weemoedig en vrolijk makend stukje geschiedenis.

    Comment by Micha — April 6, 2012 @ 11:10 am

  3. I love it, especially the bit about the good cigar.

    Comment by Richard P — April 6, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

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