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Friday, 18 January 2013

On This Day in Typewriter History: The Long and Winding Ribbon

PART 237
I wish someone would build me this machine. An application for a patent for it was applied for on this day (January 16) in 1914 by Walter Lytton, of Chicago. 
Lytton described it as "a device adapted to supply typewriter ribbons upon the spool of typewriting machines in lengths suitable for use upon the particular machines to which the spools respectively pertain.The object of the invention is to provide a machine which may be conveniently used in connection with the sale of typewriter ribbon material in lengths suitable for the production of a large number of ribbon lengths, the machine to be employed by the user as a container for the typewriter ribbon material and as a means for producing typewriter ribbons therefrom in suitable lengths wound upon the typewriter spool."
Apparently this wasn't thought necessary 99 years ago, as to the best of my knowledge it never went into production. However, today, when we all have problems finding the right spools for Remington or Royals, or have to wind ribbon from universal spools on to smaller or clasped spools, it would be very handy. Lytton's idea was that you could go buy a reel of typewriter ribbon and use your machine to wind it on to spools to suit your needs. Fantastic.
Lytton, by the way, was born in Indianapolis on June 22, 1884. Since nobody wanted his ribbon winding machine, he went into real estate, and I believe did quite well out of it.


Scott Kernaghan said...

How curious. I've been trying to come up with an effective design of one lately, to get built through Shapeways. But I haven't quite got there.

Richard P said...

I think ribbon suppliers do use similar devices which take ribbon from huge spools and get it onto smaller ones.