I was a little nervous about finding replacement ribbon for my 70 year old typewriter. Honestly, I wasn’t sure where to start.
First off, the spool on which the ribbon was wound didn’t seem to be removable. It wasn’t like I could pop a new couple cartridges on and be done.
I found my solution from an inspiring Amazon.com review entitled:
“1/2″ ribbon is 1/2″ ribbon, will work on anything”:
In the review, the author states:
“Almost every metal spool on a typewriter holds onto the ink ribbon with a sharp little metal spearhead that simply pierces the silk and holds onto it that way. When you buy a new ribbon like this one, simply roll it all onto one spool, disconnect the ribbon (detach or cut with scissors), and replace the old ribbon with this one by skewering it on the spear instead, going the same way.
“Then wind to the original spool, and attach it to the spear on the other original spool. In other words, just replace the actual fabric ribbon, but NOT the spool that holds it (original spools holds more value for your typewriter anyway), and this will work on literally hundreds of different brands, no matter what.”
Brilliant! I thought I would have buy ribbon from a specialty vintage typewriter store. As it was, I went to an office supply store and for about $7.99 bought 1/2 inch printer ribbon:
Here are the steps I took (I think I am remembering correctly):
- I carefully photographed my existing ribbon and spool set-up; this came in handy when I wanted to double-check how things went together.
- I put on some disposable gloves – this was pretty messy with all the ink.
- I put the ribbon control into the middle so that I could freely wind the ribbon spools
- I removed the spool covers.
- I wound all the old ribbon onto the spool on the right.
- I cut the end of the old ribbon on the empty left spool.
- I took the the new ribbon out of its package
- I cut the new ribbon at the end of one spool and punched a tiny hole in the end of the new ribbon
- I popped the new ribbon hole over the metal spearhead on the left spool, making sure that I was winding the same way the old ribbon was wound
- I wound all the new ribbon onto the left spool – I found using the wooden skewers as a crank useful
- I removed the old ribbon from the right spool and threw it away.
- I fed the new ribbon through the ribbon guides and got it over the right spool where I slipped it over the metal spear on the right spool – I had to make a little hole at that end too.
- I wound a little ribbon over to the right side
- I set my ribbon control to the right. The ribbon was now feeding from the left to right. Success!