Last week, I went to a typewriter workshop hosted by Donovan & Kathy of the Letter Writers Alliance. The workshop covered the basics of typewriter cleaning and care, including trouble-shooting and changing a ribbon. I have two typewriters, a Royal that is in pristine condition and a Smith-Corona that is a mess. I was interested in learning how to change the ribbons in both and how to clean up the mess in the depths of the Smith-Corona.
My Royal Safari was my first typewriter purchase. I found it a few years ago at a flea market with my parents and I think I paid $15 for it. When I saw that it types in script, I knew it had to be mine! I took the Royal Safari to the workshop because I wanted to learn how to change its ribbon. (I was scared to death of ruining the machine by messing up the ribbon!) The best take-away from the workshop was this sage advice: Take a picture of your old typewriter ribbon in your machine before you remove it. Then, when you go to install your new ribbon, you can look at your picture for guidance on how to thread the new ribbon properly. The picture at the top is my old ribbon close-up. Even though I took out the old ribbon and replaced it with a new ribbon within about five minutes, I still needed to use the picture to get it right. (Who knew my memory was so bad?) Now the Safari is typing like a dream with its new bold, black & red ribbon!
A couple of months ago, I found this Smith-Corona Galaxie at a thrift shop for $5. It works really nicely (I tested it at the shop), but it’s really dirty–the ribbon is stinky & rotting and there are eraser crumbs all over the insides. I spent a good part of Saturday wiping it down and vacuuming it out. It’s looking much better, and once I replace the ribbon, it will smell much better, too (…hopefully)!
Thanks to Donovan & Kathy for sharing your typewriter skills! I’m excited to have both of my machines back in business!