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A ribbon hack for a 1929 Underwood portable

by | Dec 29, 2022 | Underwood | 2 comments

Tonight I worked on a four-bank Underwood portable from 1929. It’s a fussy machine, with some awkward functions and tiny pieces that can easily get lost if you remove the platen and paper tray.
Right around 1929, the company introduced snap-on ribbon covers with attractive cut-out UT (Underwood Typewriter) logos. Here’s a nice example from the collection of Geoff Flash.

The problem is that if the ribbon covers snap on, they can also snap off—and get lost. Then, when the loose spool spins, the ribbon tends to fly off and get tangled up.

A few years ago, someone in the typosphere generously designed and sold some 3D-printed replacement covers. But in my experience, they were too flimsy and did not fit reliably. 
Tonight I had a brainstorm. For years I’ve had little binder clips like this one lying around the workshop, and I keep thinking that there must be some typewriter-related use for them.

Well, there is.

This simple measure keeps the ribbon in place. The prong wobbles back and forth as you type, but I don’t think it will be too distracting. If you have a similar problem, you might want to give the Binder Clip Solution a try.

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Very clever! :D

    Reply
  2. Bill M

    Very good use for a binder clip.

    I use the medium ones to hold paper in place behind the carriage when typing outside in the breeze.

    Reply

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