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Tuesday 23 April 2013

Green Typewriter Day: Green Ribbon, Green Machine, Great Fun

I was only saying to Richard Polt the other day, after he had posted on WordPlay's Word Jam, that I must think of some way I can contribute to WordPlay. Posting a typewriter from Australia, I figured, might be a bit expensive - and perhaps even superfluous by now!
Today it came to me: coloured typewriter ribbons.
There's a pink ribbon top, and a purple one below it to the right, a green one bottom left.
A boxful of these arrived at my house from California this morning and of course I had to try one out straight away. A green one. What on? My all-green Underwood Universal, of course. The ribbon was as good as I'd hoped it would be. 
I have no idea what age range is covered by WordPlay's "student ages K-12", but I reckon if an old bloke like me can have a heap of fun typing in something other than the standard black, these Cincinnati kids might too. However, Richard (presumably chief ribbon changer) might draw the line at green or pink fingertips.
I hasten to point out that the scanning process hasn't done this colour any favours at all. In real life, the shade is much more of an emerald green, much deeper and more sharp than what can be seen above.
I came across the coloured ribbons on eBay 10 days ago and enquired about the range of colours and whether they were available on Universal spools. Duane O'Neil at FJA Products in San Marcos, California, got back to me immediately and we negotiated a deal for a package. The ribbons are available in pink, green, red and purple (as well as black) and Duane is going to test a blue one for me. Orange or brown might be other possibilities I'll put to Duane.
Deciding it would be quite exciting for me to type in different colours, I ordered 11 in a range of colours at $10 each. Having just test typed with the green one so far, I must say I'm extremely happy with the outlay.
As for the Underwood Universal, I've had it for a while now but hadn't really given it a good workout until today. Some may recall that I overcame my aversion to Underwoods of this early 1950s vintage (after some bad transactions about eight years ago) when in early December I got - by accident (I was expecting a two-tone brown and fawn Deluxe Quiet Tab)  - a Finger Flite Champion. And loved it. This green Universal is a quite similar, and but for a ball bearing problem, is also a very impressive typer. I like it a lot.
And I'm going to leave the green ribbon in it.
Next ... pink in a pink typewriter!


Scott K said...

Would it surprise you to hear that I've shoved a green ribbon into a Hermes machine? Fun post. And... fun machine!

Richard P said...


I'm sure the kids (usually ages 8-15 or so) at WordPlay would enjoy colored ribbon. I do have a green ribbon in a couple of the typewriters. I think pink would be a hit in the cursive Olympia SM4, or the pink-and-black Smith-Corona 88. The typists will be delighted!

Ted said...

I recently dealt with a 5TE with the "all keys want to go at once" issue. The fix is easy: just remove the aluminum plate underneath the front of the machine (one screw, and you just lever out the plate tabs from the front rubber feet mounts). Under the plate is where the rotating bar trips the keylevers. Carefully clean and lubricate all of these linkages and ensure they aren't sticking open, and the problem should go away after the linkages free up.

Unknown said...

Hello! I am fairly new in typewriting.
I am looking for multicoloured ribbons.
Like blue-green and rainbow, or other very dark green-yellow... Would you know anyone who makes them?
Or would you have tips to make them meself?
I tried, but the without the right tools and techniques the result so far is not great.
Thomas from Belgium