How Can You Change a Typewriter Ribbon?


Quick Answer

Change a worn ribbon on a manual typewriter by removing the old ribbon spools and placing new spools in their place, carefully threading the ribbon through the ribbon vibrator. All you need is a replacement ribbon and a few minutes.

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Full Answer

  1. Lift the cover

    Most manual typewriters have a dust cover protecting the typing mechanisms and the ribbon spools. Lift the cover, and leave it up while you work.

  2. Remove the old ribbon

    Locate the two ribbon spools on either side of the typing mechanism. The ribbon runs between the two spools and through a small metal opening called a ribbon vibrator, where the type bar strikes the paper. Take a moment to note how the ribbon passes any guides and through the ribbon vibrator. Lift the spools off the pegs and out from around the vibrator.

  3. Install the new spools

    Place the spools of the new ribbon onto the spool posts, making sure that the ribbon exits the spool toward the outside. If the ribbon is two colors, the black ribbon should be on top. Place the ribbon through the guides near the spool holders.

  4. Thread the ribbon vibrator

    Thread the ribbon through the vibrator. This part can be tricky. It may help to press the shift-lock key or to put the ribbon color selector on red to raise the vibrator.

  5. Perform a test

    Close the dust cover, and feed a piece of paper into the typewriter. Type a few lines of text to make sure the ribbon is feeding properly. Problems occur when the spools are on the wrong sides or when the ribbon isn't threaded through the vibrator properly.

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