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A man of the cloth and the steel he wields

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  1. I don’t really get the problem about carbon ribbons. Surely they just wind onto a spool like cloth and you threat it the same way? Could be fun to try one soon. Do you just get an old cassette ribbon and extract the tape or have you found them on plain half-inch round spools? Stupid asking questions in a comment really, but I’ll check back. Congrats on 150th post – all of ’em gems.

    1. Well, mylar is thinner and flimsier than cloth, and tends to bunch up or slip out of ribbon vibrators that were designed for cloth ribbons. It’s different enough that it causes feed problems in some machines. In others it can work fine.

      1. Yep, I guess it would jump around a little in especially exuberant ribbon jugglers. I suppose you could always type ‘blind’ with a sheet of carbon paper and no top copy?

  2. I thought carbon ribbons would produce a very clean, very black typeface, but this looks like it dried out? Like the white keyboard of the Galaxy.

    1. it is a fairly old ribbon, but definitely came spooled on normal spools with reverse-actuator grommets. Only problem was it was spooled with the wrong side out.

      1. Revd Munk, it’s probably for a machine that mounts the ribbons “underhand” for lack of a better term. If you look at most any portable typewriter, the ribbon comes out from the “top” of the spool, nearest the paper. Some desktops, however, have the ribbon go from the bottom; of you look from the top of the machine, you’ll see it go in an upside down u or v shape.

  3. OOh laser-guided paper bail! you’re the first! get that patent in!
    Thanks for reminding me I have a carbon ribbon too. I’m going to try it in the Oliver since the cloth ones bind (half-inch is too big and Jay doesn’t carry 7/16ths)

  4. Sorry, guys-carbon ribbons definitely didn’t come like fabric. I have owned several IBM’s, Remingtons and Underwoods from the 50’s-office machines. The IBM was the most popular by far; you can see photos of the old A and B models with what we called ‘ears’ on either side of the body. It was the easy way to tell if the machine was carbon-equipped. Back then you could also still get at least Royal and Smith with carbon attachments on their office manuals. If you open those ‘ears’ on an IBM, you’ll see the carbon ribbon goes on one side with only a little spool thing in the middle of the reel. Most of the ribbon is completely unsupported, and believe me, you can ruin one in a heartbeat if you don’t handle it right! My last typebar IBM, a model D Executive, had the carbon ribbon mechanism in the body, but it still wasn’t on a full spool like fabric. Strangely, IBM back in the 50’s had various carbon ribbons using Mylar but also paper in different colors, and yet a different one for the Hektowriter process. Just watch out with that-carbon is so sharp and black it can spoil you for fabric! BTW does Rev. Munk use, or ever did use, silk fabric ribbons? They’re so much nicer than cotton or nylon, but I don’t know whether you can get them.

    1. John, there are two styles of carbon ribbon available. One is for IBM type bar machines and nearly everything else, and that one requires a special attachment. That’s the one you could ruin in a heartbeat. The IBM Selectric I ribbon, which is what the Rev Munk had, comes on a half inch spool like everything else, sometimes with reversing grommets if the carbon was laid on thick. Many manual typewriters feed Selectric I ribbon with no problem. The best machine to take Selectric I Mylar ribbons in my estimation is the Hermes 3000 because of its generous cranking mechanism, but the only way to see if your machine likes carbon ribbons is to try it.

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