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September 14, 2013

Truman K. ('T.K.') Bristoll

Truman K. (’T.K.’) Bristoll

SOUTH KORTRIGHT — Truman Kenly Bristoll, a World War II veteran and mechanical engineer for IBM who invented the ribbon feeding mechanism for typewriters, died Monday morning, Sept. 9, 2013, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. Better known by family and friends simply as T.K., he was 86.

Born April 27, 1927, in Philadelphia, Pa., he was a son of Alan Yale and Frances Philbin (Kenly) Bristoll. While living in Narberth, Pa., he attended Wynewood High School.

In October of 1944, T.K. enlisted in the United States Army and served as an airplane and engine mechanic. He received an Honorable Discharge on Jan. 20, 1946, but the next day entered into active service in the Regular Army and continued working as a mechanic while serving in the Pacific Theater with the 371st Air Engineers.

He also worked on docks as a hydraulic crew chief, later becoming assistant dock chief. On March 2, 1947, Corporal Bristoll received another Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Army, but once again re-enlisted, this time with the Air Force of the United States. He was Honorably Discharged from the Armed Forces on March 2, 1950.

A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), T.K. was employed for many years as a mechanical engineer for International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in Kingston and Poughkeepsie. During this time, he invented the ribbon feeding mechanism for typewriters. This invention, patented in 1958 (No. US 2858928 A), helped revolutionize typewriters, making their operation much easier for the millions of people who utilized these once-vital business machines.

T.K. was a man who had many and varied interests, all of which he pursued with a passion. While living along the Hudson, he received his license from the United States Coast Guard to operate or navigate motor boats carrying passengers for hire, and at one time captained a launch on the river.

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