Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Tip on Ribbons

I am sure the more experienced collectors already know this, but in case it has not been addressed, let me say it here: if you own more than one type writer and use them regularly, pick one and stick with it until the current ribbon is completely shot. Do not install brand-new ribbons on all of your machines and assume that they will retain their ink when you come back to them after year.

I currently have four typewriters in my new apartment: the Fleetwing, the Olivetti 21, the SM9, and my DL 5. I installed a ribbon on my Olympia more than a year ago. Last week I burned out for the first time in a while to use it again and discovered that the ink had dried considerably. Therefore, I have decided that I will not switch typewriters while I am in the middle of a project until the ink is completely gone. Not only will this allow me to more thoroughly evaluate whether or not I enjoy a machine, it will also save me quite a bit of money in the long run.

The only question that remains to be answered, is whether or not the ribbons I ordered for my Olympia about a year ago are still good. I have not opened them, but if my experience with calculator ribbons is any indication, they too may have dried out by now. 

That would be a real shame. I like the idea of being able to buy in bulk.

66 pages into that new novel! I don't have any idea how long it is going to be, but will see if I can get most of the draft finished by the end of the summer.

I have been deliberately stalling when it comes to putting Internet in the apartment. In retrospect, I am glad that I have not done so yet. As soon as I get home from work, I have five hours to do whatever I want. Usually I read or write a little more on the manuscript. I use very little electricity to keep the room lit. My Panasonic desk lamp is still faithful as ever. I have discovered that background music via local radio station is also helpful for my writing. It drowns out the ambience of the apartment building, like my neighbors talking or watching TV.

I guess some purists would say I am closer to the "historical" Typewriter experience than others. I have to say I enjoyed this arrangement. It's one less thing I have to pay for, and I am getting a lot more work done. Plus I am not constantly tempted to waste time surfing the Internet doing useless things.

We'll see how much longer this experiment continues. Thus far, it is yielding positive results.

Power to the pen!


  1. I keep new ribbons in a jar with a good metal lid and seal, re-used jelly jars and some others are good -- or mason jars with a good lid -- to keep my new ribbons fresh until needed.

    I found that my refreshed WD-40 ribbons last years on a typewriter out in the open. The slugs need cleaned regularly, but a WD-40 ribbon seems to last quite long even with at least weekly use for a sheet or two.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I will ask my grandmother if she has any mason jars she would be willing to part with, lol. Do you have a post on your blog about using WD-40 on a ribbon?

    2. there's one here I did in '13: