Fresh Ribbon…ruins a good manicure


Before I begin complaining about changing the ribbon on my Lettera 32, let me share a little gorgeousness from uppercaseyyc’s incredible collection on Flickr. These old typewriter ribbon tins are individual masterpieces, but collectively they’re an absolute bouquet of vintage collectibles. Do take a look at her individual photographs of each tin – I dare you not to start a collection.

I’m going to have to look locally, though, because some of these badboys are going for upwards of twenty dollars apiece on Ebay. I can fill my house with with all manner of flea market/yard sale typewriters for that kind of cash. I’m not cheap, I’m just thrifty.

Now for the complaining. I just spent entirely too much time replacing a ribbon in an achingly sexy Olivetti Lettera 32 and it’s not an experience I want to repeat for a while. I assume it would be easier to replace a ribbon if I had, say, an operator’s manual with a step-by-inky-step guide, but I’m not sure. There are all manner of ribbon guides and things that screw on and off (right-y tight-y, left-y loose-y) as well as these THINGS that poke UP and are clearly meant to somehow KEEP the ribbon from TOUCHING THE PAPER.

Well, I eventually figured it out but not before completely ruining my manicure. I’ve changed ribbon in all my typewriters and have never had such a snafu. It was like something out of I Love Lucy. The thing is done now, and I’m feeling a little pleased with myself for figuring it out sans written directions. Not that it would have helped.

I’m buying a box of surgical gloves for next time. This re-manicure is going to cost me at least one Empress typewriter tin. Maybe two.

8 thoughts on “Fresh Ribbon…ruins a good manicure

  1. I\’ve never had a manicure to ruin, but I did spend an afternoon at the office with ink covering all the skin from the tips of each fingers back to their second knuckle thanks to a respooling session gone horribly, horribly wrong. I spent the afternoon walking around with clenched hands to disguise this, although I\’m sure I looked unnecessarily angry and brooding.Those tins are lovely, and I see that eBay has numerous examples. Bleah. I think I\’ll stick with gathering busted cameras with disintegrating bellows that require unobtainable film sizes. My life can only hold so much Impractical Object Collections.

  2. See, this angry and brooding posture is exactly why I don\’t want to respool ribbon. Ever.In the meantime, I\’ve talked myself out of the tins and into Looking Very Seriously at an Olympia SM3/4 instead.Shiny objects turn my head.

  3. I got overconfident with the ribbon, since the last time I\’d had to respool one, the ink came off with some mild scrubbing. This time it was baked in. I\’ve since learned to change ribbons using unbent paper clips as hooks to guide them through their windy path.And buying an Olympia sounds so much more reasonable to me…

  4. You need to make a video tutorial on that paperclip-winding thing. I\’m trying to imagine it, but it sounds awfully dextrous.

  5. Oooooo, Monda. Love these tins. Going to try to resist. If I let myself, though, I could do some serious damage collecting old typesetting type. I\’m a major font fiend.I gave up on manicures decades ago. I like to get dirty and too many fun things ruin them. Now I only do one for special occasions.I do paint my toes though. Do pedicures count??

  6. Pedicures only count if you change the ribbons with your toes, which I don\’t recommend.I LOVE old typesetting type. Stay away from Ebay, is all I\’m sayin.

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