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22-4-2015 10:09:22  #1

Purple typewriter ribbons

I have read in various fountain pen forums and sites that purple fountain pen ink can be corrosive and could potentially damage metals. Does anyone know if the same can be said of the ink used on purple typewriter ribbons?
I have three ancient typewriter now, soon to be restored I hope, and I have seen lots of old invoices, letters, and other business correspondence typed in purple. I thought it might be interesting to use a purple ribbbon on at least one of the old machines.

Additionally, does anyone know why purple was used back then? Was it the equivalent to indelible pencils? A special ink that wouldn't erase?



http://i1383.photobucket.com/albums/ah298/stillthecabinboy/RICKwres12Dec_zpsj5hyy16z.jpg "I'll wrestle you for that typewriter."

22-4-2015 11:18:52  #2

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

I wouldn't be concerned with modern purple-coloured ribbon as I'm sure it's made using the same type of ink as other coloured ribbons. Similarly, vintage ribbons would have been specifically intended for typewriters (I wasn't aware that purple was even used 'back then' as I've yet to come across an old purple ribbon).

"To save time is to lengthen life."

22-4-2015 11:24:41  #3

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

Hi Cabin Boy, I'm thinking that the purple typed sheets you're thinking of are probably carbon copies...

(Editing in to say: and you can still get carbon paper everywhere.)

Last edited by KatLondon (22-4-2015 11:25:54)


22-4-2015 12:21:06  #4

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

Here are a few examples. I don't think these are carbon copies. The typing looks too sharp for carbons. I am now looking inot something called a hectograph, which was an early duplicating system using ink transfer onto a gelatin base, then onto a piece of onion skin paper. I'm thinking the purple typewriter ribbons were hectograph-transferable. My great-grandfather (96) should know. In the meantime... and from a bygone era when even company letterheads were works of art....









http://i1383.photobucket.com/albums/ah298/stillthecabinboy/RICKwres12Dec_zpsj5hyy16z.jpg "I'll wrestle you for that typewriter."
     Thread Starter

22-4-2015 14:01:53  #5

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

Purple is definitely fun to type with. The ribbon I bought was over-inked so ran it through a clean rag to wipe off the excess. I had thought that it would dry up a bit after a while and settle down, but it was super inky and left smears all over the place. Now its perfect.
Lovely letter heads and bills!
I'm wondering if carbon paper was just better quality back then. (though yours could be ink) The carbon vintage copies I have seen in the flesh are pretty clear, but my own new carbon paper makes quite smudgy copies like charcoal.


27-4-2015 22:03:50  #6

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

I don't think I have an answer for you but- Neat documents!! I live farily close to Fall River and Newport, where you last document is from! Thanks for sharing!


27-4-2015 22:38:53  #7

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

The Seattle Brewing one looks like it might have been done with carbon paper.  Possibly the Great Council of Arizona one too.  Carbons frequently had the stuff rub off of the paper onto the areas where there was no type.  In the Seattle one, you can see this effect around the edges, at the fold lines and in the handwritten text that appears in the upper left corner.  The Arizona one has some sort of secondary image on the bottom of the page.

Elliott 1

29-4-2015 13:49:46  #8

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

I managed to find some vintage purple carbon paper, which arrived today, and have been experimenting with different typewriters and different paper. The typewriters with harder older platens give the clearest results from the carbon paper, which isn't surprising really. I compared the purple of the carbon paper to the purple of my typewriter ribbon and it is quite different. In my opinion, the purple of the carbon paper is a deeper shade with more blue in it.
I've looked for references to vintage purple typewriter ribbon, and just can't find any mention of it anywhere.


15-1-2016 20:16:03  #9

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

malole wrote:

I managed to find some vintage purple carbon paper, which arrived today

May I ask you where did you find it?

Typography lover and book sniffer. I make and enjoy simple things.

15-1-2016 20:31:14  #10

Re: Purple typewriter ribbons

Jeez...I think my smith premier 4s ribbon is purple! Well, it looks black, but Im pretty sure it types a dark purple...

Back from a long break.

Starting fresh with my favorite typer. A Royal Futura!

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