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How to Care for a Typewriter

Like any machine, typewriters require a certain amount of maintenance and care to keep them performing well.  In the day when typing classes were common, students would learn how to care for a typewriter.  Since those days are long gone, I thought I would share a few tips on how to care for a typewriter. Always keep your typewriter covered when not in use.  Typewriters tend to collect dust which over time will create problems like sticking type bars.  Try to keep it covered as much as possible. Avoid liquid correction fluid.  Liquid correction fluid is messy and tends to drip on the platen and paper bail rollers.  Correction tape is a better option. Dust your machine regularly.  Take a...

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Why I think IBM Selectrics Are the Best Electric Typewriter Ever Made

If you know me, you know about my fondness for IBM Selectric typewriters.  I personally own several--everything from the Selectric I to the Selectric III.    Why do I think the Selectric is the best electric typewriter?  Let me give you a few reasons.  Feel free to add some more of your own.   IBM designed the Selectric to run 8 hours per day, every day.  It was designed and made for business use.  After all, there are thousands still in use today.  Small, inexpensive, personal electrics won't hold up to that kind of use and certainly don't last as long.  Many of the Selectrics manufactured in the 1960s (and 70s and 80s) are still being used today.  Can you say...

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Typewriters Matter - A Tool for People with Disabilities?

Since starting our typewriter repair business several years ago, I've been intrigued by the how people use typewriters today.  Of course, many are used in traditional ways - creative writing of all sorts, letter writing, and even some are still used in the business world.  The one use for typewriters that surprised me was how they are being used by people who face physical challenges.  I've mentioned before how we've had several customers contact us looking for a manual typewriter to use because they are suffering from tremors and cannot use a computer or cannot write legibly.    I've been wondering how typewriters could be used by others who may face some sort of physical disability.  Could a typewriter help someone...

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How to Install an IBM Selectric Typewriter Ribbon Cartridge

I remember when I first started using an IBM Selectric typewriter, I had trouble installing a new ribbon in the machine. I figured if I had trouble installing the ribbon (and correction tape), I’m probably not alone! So, we decided to put together a short video highlighting the steps it takes for a user to install a new Selectric typewriter ribbon. A few key things to remember: Go slow.  Don’t rush – take your time and follow the video. Make sure the ribbon goes around the left guidepost. Confirm that the correction ribbon lever is closed.  If it’s open, you cannot press the red ribbon load lever to raise the ribbon guides which is vital for installing the new ribbon.

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How to Fix Sticky Typewriter Keys

Over the last few years, I’ve had quite a few people ask me about how to fix sticky typewriter keys.  It’s a common problem on vintage typewriters.  Dust and dirt have settled into the machine over the years and before you know it, several of the typebars seem stuck in place.  I can’t count the hours I’ve spent getting sticky typebars unstuck.  Here’s what you’ll need: Alcohol.  I recommend picking up a can of denatured alcohol although rubbing alcohol will work in a pinch.  Denatured alcohol can be found at most any home improvement store (Lowe’s, Home Depot) and some retailers like Wal-Mart and Michael’s.  Look for it near the turpentine and mineral spirits. A Sturdy Brush.  You’ll probably want...

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