Typing His Way Beyond Adversity


2014-0304 Paul Smith ArtAccording to the cerebral palsy website, ” When Paul Smith was born on September 21, 1921 in Philadelphia, his doctors didn’t believe he would live too long” because he was born with a severe case of spastic cerebral palsy. Smith actually lived 85 years longer than doctors predicted when he was born. Even though Smith lived longer than the average male, his life was not easy. Dressing, eating, and thinking were all very difficult due to his condition.

Known worldwide as the “Typewriter Artist,” Paul Smith created typewriter art for slightly more than 70 years. The cerebral palsy website reveals Smith “developed an interest in creating typewriter art when he was 11-years-old and had started toying with a typewriter his neighbor had discarded. His creations became an outlet for a child that turned to new ways to express himself since being non-verbal he could not easily convey his feelings to others. Because he could not easily grip artist’s tools such as pencils, pens, markers, pastels or paint brushes, he turned to the typewriter.”

Smith created art by pressing symbol keys at the top of his typewriter — !, @, #, %, ^, _, (, &, ) – changing the color of typewriter ribbon, and smearing ink. The manual typewriter Smith used required the “ribbons to be positioned, the roller to be adjusted, and the paper to be secured.  Typewriters, of that era, left no room for error since erasing mistaken keystrokes was not a clean option.”

Smith overcame his adversity. What can you do to overcome your adversity?


Call to Action

If you know of any other stories of success that could inspire survivors, family members, friends, or caregivers, please share your stories in the comment box below this post. Thank you.


Thanks to Norm for sharing the story and pictures I used in this post; Paul Smith for creating the seemingly impossible art; Cerebral Palsy.org for providing information used in this post. YouTube for hosting the video I used in this post; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the pictures, video, and text I used in this post.


  1. Wonderful story. There is always someone else with greater challenges.
    We have so much to be grateful for.

    1. Nancy,

      Your statement is true in every aspect of life. No matter who you are, there will always be people above you and below you. Continue to be kind to everyone.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *