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ROBOTYPER: AN HISTORIC HENDERSONVILLE BUILDING SAVED---AN IMPORTANT PART OF HENDERSONVILLE'S HISTORY

ROBOTYPER:  AN HISTORIC HENDERSONVILLE BUILDING SAVED---AN IMPORTANT PART OF HENDERSONVILLE'S HISTORY ROBOTYPER: AN HISTORIC HENDERSONVILLE BUILDING SAVED---AN IMPORTANT PART OF HENDERSONVILLE'S HISTORY

THE OLD ROBOTYPER BUILDING 

ROBOTYPER CREATED JOBS FOR A HUNDRED LOCAL PEOPLE FROM 1951 THROUGH 1967    

Builder/developer Andrew Riddle says he's not sure how the old building will be used in the future.  But this old building, which was once a car dealership,,,then the home of the Robotyper Corporation...then a county-owned office building is now in the midst of a major make-over.

It was in April of 1952 that Robotyper stirred up a lot of excitement here by announcing the company's plans to move their main manufacturing facility to Hendersonville, creating over a hundred local jobs.  An Open House was held at the Robotyper plant on Allen Street July 21st and 22nd 1951.  WHKP did a "live" broadcast of the open house event, presided over by Hendersonville Mayor A.V. Edwards. The late Kermit Edney did the broadcast, interviewing guests at the open house.   

Prior to World War II, Robert Moore and George Carson invented a robot machine that would actually operate typewriters automatically.  And in 1946, Moore set up a business in Detroit which began manufacturing those robot machine, which was called Robotyper Corporation.

Those machines operated on the same concept as the old-fashioned "player" pianos. An operator could insert a "stop" in the process and personalize letters or insert specific and detailed data.  Those robotypers were a real marvel in the 1950s and 60s, capable of turning out hundreds of personalizewd letters.  The "Old Good Morning Man", the late Kermit Edney, wrote that he and his wife, "the child bride", set up a "letter shop" with the robotypers in a spare bedroom in their home and turned out that highly customized service. 

When Robotyper re-located to Hendersonville, they chose the Wetmur Motors building at 125 Allen Street.  Years later, when Robotyper closed, the county school board bought the building and it was used for administration.

In 1955, the Royal Typewriter Company bought an interest in Robotyper and in 1956, the company announced it would significantly increase its production.  But before too many years, the days of the old "player" piano concept at Robotyper was doomed by rapidly advancing technology.  The Royal typewriters used by Robotyper were not fully compatible with IBM and other machines, and glitches developed.

In March of 1965, Litton Industries merged with what had become Robotyper's parent company, Royal McBee.  Two years later, in 1967, the Hendersonville Robotyper plant was closed.  Clarence Blythe was the manager of the local Robotyper facility when it closed in 1967.

A side-bar:  WHKP operated a busines of "robotypers" for a number of years known as "Letter Writers, Inc." out of the old "Radio Center" radio station building on the banks of Mud Creek on Seventh Avenue East.  That business largely ceased to function after the closure of Robotyper in the 1960s. 

By Larry Freeman   02/12/18     

 

 

 

 

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