At one time, replacing a typewriter ribbon was as common as replacing an ink cartridge in an ink jet printer. As typewriters have fallen out of favour, fewer and fewer people remember how to replace a ribbon in an antique or more modern typewriter. Replacing a ribbon is easy, especially if you have an old ribbon in place. Although they are getting harder to find, some original new-old-stock typewriter ribbons are still available for a number of vintage typewriters.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Replacement ribbon
Remove the existing ribbon. Note the path that the ribbon takes as it goes from one spool to the other.
Roll the ribbon entirely on to one of the two reels if your replacement ribbon didn't come with a take-up reel. If your new ribbon has a take-up reel, skip this step.
Attach the end of the new ribbon to the take-up reel if your new ribbon doesn't already have one. In most cases, there is a sharp arrow shaped piece on the reel. Use that arrow to penetrate the ribbon and make a few winds of ribbon around the take-up reel.
Slip the take-up reel on the take-up spindle on the right side of the typewriter. Align any tabs designed to turn the reel to move the ribbon during typing.
Feed the ribbon through the path you noted when removing the old ribbon and place the main ribbon on the spindle. Give the take-up reel a few turns to make sure the ribbon moves freely through the typewriter mechanism.
Two Spool Ribbons
Remove the old ribbon cassette. In some typewriters, you can do this by simply pulling up on the cassette. Other typewriters may have a latch holding the cassette in place.
Note the pins and position of the old cassette and open the new cassette.
Slip the new cassette in the same position as the old cassette. Most cassettes have a hand-feed knob to advance the ribbon. Turn this a few times to ensure that the ribbon is moving freely.