Ribbons, Ribbons and more Ribbons!

More Information
"As time goes by... "

With hundreds of e-mails every month asking about ribbons, ribbon spools, and wanting to know what material would be best for their machine, cotton, nylon, silk, etc., I have decided to offer up some of my own choices based on the typestyles and make of machine.

Hands down, nylon with medium inking is the best way to go 98% of the time. Why? Well cotton holds too much ink and with standard type styles the lower case letters like e-a-o-w-p-q will soon have their strike-heads filled up with ink to the point that the letter will be unrecognizable when it imprints on the page.

Now silk tends to not have any body to it and I have found that it will fold over in the ribbon guide too often.




With all that in mind - here are some of the thousands of ribbons that are available, descriptions listed left to right:




Top Row:

#1 - Corona three bank with knurled nut that screws to ribbon drive post in order to hold spool on.

#2 - Corona #4 this may look something like the later Corona spools however it is smaller in size.

#3 - Standard pre-war starting with the flat top Corona and going to early post war.

#4 - All Smith-Corona portables post war.

#5 - All LC Smith and Smith-Corona's full size desk top typewriters


Bottom Row:

#1 Underwood or Royal early models without ribbon reverse (portables)

#2 - Second model Royal and Underwood portables with ribbon reverse

#3 - Most Underwood typewriters starting with the #5 and ending with the TouchMasters. Also most Royal portables post war.

#4 - Underwood Touch Master flange spool.

#5 - Underwood Olivetti, all models.



Top row:

#1 - Royal old style #5


#2 - Royal #10 and most models after - this model spool is easily identified by the notch on the top.


Second close up of the spool for the Royal #10


(Third row from the top continued)

#3 - Remington's #10 through #16's up until Model 17

#4 - Remington portable until the Quiet Riter. All models

#5 - Remington's #17 through all models after. Also all Underwood/Remington Noiseless machines and Remington Quiet Riters.

Bottom Row

#1 - Hermes, all models

#2 - Olympia all models sold in the United States

#3 - Olympia and some other German machines with large spool posts.

#4 - Adler and all other models wth the 9/16th wide ribbons.

#5 - Woodstock most models


Many of the above would need a reversing eyelet at both ends of the ribbon. Without this, the ribbon would not change direction when it comes to the end. EX: All Royal portables, Underwood portables and desktops to TouchMaster need the eyelet. Also the Corona portables starting with #4 and through all models thereafter also need eyelets.

Examples of machines that don't need eyelets are: Royal full size, Olympia portables and full size machines, Adlers, Remingtons and all model Woodstocks.

Of course, these are just samples.

Most machines will take red/black ribbons.

As all ribbons have a shelf life, (if sealed), of a few years, many of the larger companies would make tens of thousands at a time and then ship them to dealers whou would sell a few each month or week with their stock ending up a year or so old by the time the last one was sold and it was time to re-order. While they were still technically "new", they were still a few years old by the time they were sold.

Now it has become my policy over the years to only make 4 or 5 dozen a week unless more are needed as I have heard this complaint all too often. By adhering to this policy, all my ribbons are fresh to the customer.

If a special order is needed for one or two ribbons, I can always rewind any half-inch ribbon from one spool to another and cut the eyelets off or staple them as required.

For every day typing needs, I do not see the need for using a vintage metal spool on machines like the Hermes, Olympia, Smith-Coronas, Royals, etc. I have some customers that are very serious writers and may go through a dozen or so each month.

Having said that though, for the vintage Underwood #5's, #6's or the Royal #5's and #10's along with many of the portables with open tops - you don't want to place a Mickey Mouse looking plastic spool on the old banger. This would only serve to show very bad taste .

Now some of the spools are *very* hard to come by at any price, spools like the Remington #10's, #12's and #16's along with the little Corona Three bank, Four banks and all Remington portables up the Quiet Riter.

Unfortunately, I am unable to give set prices on all metal spools, with or without ribbons at this time as my supply are limited to a few thousand and they do not make them anymore.

But, some of my prices are as follows:

- Fresh nylon ribbons on plastic spools are $10.00 each with shipping priced at $3.80 for up to six (6) ribbons total.

- I can offer a 12 pack of ribbons on plastic spools at $8.00 each with free shipping.

- I can mix on plastic spools for all machines, however plastic spools are not made for all machines. What I am saying is that a person can order 3 Hermes, 3 Olympia, 3 Royal and 3 Smith-Corona total of 12 - for the same price of $8.00 each, as they are all available with plastic spools.

Metal spools will be priced on an individual basis, on request.


This website and all material contained herein Copyright 2006 by Dan Puls