Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Search of W. L. Ehrler

One of the tantalizing things about typewriters is that they belonged to real people. Someone sat at that machine and wrote. I have found that a typewriter is an intensely personal object. Students choose the same one over and over and I am very partial to my desk HH. I am so partial that I refuse to let anyone else use it.

The brown QDL once belonged to a man named W. L. Ehrler. I wasn't able to find much about him except for a few articles written by a W. L. Ehrler via Google Books. I was able to track down where he was working in the sixties. W. L. Ehrler worked for the US Dept. of Agriculture in the Water Conservation Lab in Phoenix. He wrote, with fellow researchers, several articles about water retention capability in the leaves of rubber plants. It's interesting stuff to the people who find it interesting.

I sent an email message to the director of the lab and this was his response:
Yes, I would say it is very likely that the typewriter was once W.L. Ehrler’s, who was at the USWCL. I have attached one of his publications. Though he was retired when I started at the USWCL in 1984, I worked with both of the co-authors on the paper. I was told he passed away about a year ago in Scottsdale.
 While W. L. Ehrler is gone, his typewriter will live on. That'a a comforting thought.


  1. Good detective work.

    I can tell you a lot about the original owner of the tan QDL I sent you. She was probably a spinster, may have lived with her sister; resided in St. Bernard, Ohio; was a devout Catholic who prayed the rosary; was a bit of a magpie, holding on to receipts and old calendars; and cared about typing well. I also know her name, but won't post it on the Web. All this information comes from objects found in the typewriter case.

  2. That is fascinating. I too was hemming and hawing about whether to write about him, but I was able to find all the info I found on the internet via a cursory search. The processes has made the typewriter even more valuable to me.

  3. If you'd like to have the miscellanea I found in the QDL case, let me know.