Why You May Need a Typewriter in Your Preps

typewritersIn recent days, I have been thinking about how we would share knowledge, communicate with each other and keep records of births, deaths, marriages and other important events.  Today we are spoiled by computers; they solve all of the above problems.  What about if the power is out?  I guess we could go back to time-consuming handwriting.  I don’t know about you but I have gotten out of the habit of writing by hand, it would take some getting used too.  In school today they are talking about no longer teach cursive.  So then I thought about manual typewriters.

Now to some of you this may seem like a waste of effort.  But like anything, there are priorities and this would come well after food, water, etc.  But for people who are homeschooling or working with a large group of people and who are well prepared, a typewriter or two could be a time saving device.

There are still a lot of old manual typewriters sitting in peoples garage and attics.  These were reliable machines that rarely needed repair.  You can still find them fairly cheaply in garage sales and flea markets.  Now they do need ribbons.  But I did an internet search for typewriter ribbons and was surprised at how easy they were to find.  The same thing applies to carbon paper.  For the young who are not familiar with it, carbon paper was placed between sheets of paper to make duplicates when you typed.

Now typewriter ribbons need to be stored in a cool dry place.  If possible, I would seal them in an airtight package to prevent them from drying out.  With a search of the internet, I found a couple of suggestions from people who are re-inking their typewriter ribbons.  Here are some suggestions how to re-ink or stretch more use out of your ribbons.

You will need an

  • Old phone book, optional: also old newspapers
  • A bottle of INK PAD REINKER (look in any office supply store, it’s a bottle with a roller on top full of black ink, ask, they know what it is.)

Take the phone book and open it on a table, (add some old newspapers around it too, it might get messy) Now get your ribbon and pull out like 2 feet of it and lay it flat over the phone book. Now open the ink, there’s a ball on the top, it will roll and work like a roll-on deodorant. hold the ribbon still with one hand and roll the ink on with the other pulling away from you. The old phone book will absorb all of the extra ink that might come out. Roll up the ribbon, pull out more dry ribbon, repeat. Turn to new pages of the phone book if you need to. If you plan it so you only touch the dry part of the ribbon you get by with few ink stains on your hands, but it can get messy. If you have the red and black ribbon, say goodbye to the red part.

A second idea to stretch the use of your ribbons is

Hit the ribbons with some WD-40 when the ribbon would go dry. There is a lot of ink in areas that aren’t hit by a typewriter key.  The WD-40 allows the ink to move around on the ribbon and distribute itself evenly again. Make sure to just wet it a little bit.  Don’t make the ribbon soggy or it may smear onto the pages as you type. While this doesn’t actually re-ink the ribbon, it used to let you get a considerable amount of extra usage from the ribbons.


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One Response to Why You May Need a Typewriter in Your Preps

  1. I saw several Smith Corona manual typewriters on Ebay starting at around $22.00. Smith Corona was one of the most popular brands “back in the day” as were Royal. Ribbons for either of these brands should be easy to get, even locally.

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