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03-2-2020 04:52:47  #1

Blue Bird 18b, circa 1963

I just picked up a BlueBird 18b. A quick search through the Typewriter SN Database tells me that it's either a 1959 or a 1963, based on the 127XXXX serial number.
My question to those of you who may know more about these machines is; does it have a ribbon reversal key anywhere?
I can see a thin bar across the middle of the type-basket and it can be shifted from side to side and this allows the ribbons to reverse.
There is that forked stem next to each ribbon, where the ribbon slots in so that the brass eyelets at the end of the ribbon can catch on it (like a lot of other machines) , which usually causes the ribbon reversal to occur, but these stems don't to move at all.

Anyone know? I'll thank you in advance, and I'll thank you again.

My blog, about typewriters,wristwatches, fountain pens, Bond, and whatever else happens to be polluting my mind at any given time;

03-2-2020 12:39:38  #2

Re: Blue Bird 18b, circa 1963

Hi Teeriz

Just looking at my Torpedo 18b S/N 1291394 which I believe is the same machine as the Bluebird, the forks or ribbon guides are just guides, they are not part of the reversing system. The ribbon reversing system is actually quite intriguing, I'll try to describe its operation. These machines require ribbons without eyelets in order for the auto-reverse system to work correctly

Look closely at the machine's serial number location where the ribbon follower arm is anchored, this is mirrored on the other side of the machine. Slowly press a letter key and you should see a metal tab moving in the curved slot that ends at the ribbon follower anchor point. As the ribbon runs out on either spool, the ribbon follower moves closer to the core of the spool until the tang at the base of the ribbon follower moves into the path of the tab triggering the automatic ribbon reverse system.

Eyelets in the ribbon will catch in the ribbon guides before the auto-reverse is activated. This is also why it is best to have the OEM or OEM spec ribbon spools and the cover plates as opposed to any of the one piece aftermarket plastic spools. If the metal ribbon cover plates are missing, The one piece Underwood #150 flanged spool will usually work on these machines, but not always. Hope I've pointed you in the right direction and not confused you too much. All the best,



05-2-2020 04:21:00  #3

Re: Blue Bird 18b, circa 1963

Hello Sky, thanks very much for the explanation. Sure enough, I manually wound the ribbon over to the end of one spool and then began tapping at the keys and, as if by magic, the central cross-bar flipped across and the spoils then began rotating in the opposite direction as I continued tapping at the keys.

And thank-you for mentioning that the required ribbons are the non-eyelet types. I think I have one or two floating around.

Thanks again and take care!

My blog, about typewriters,wristwatches, fountain pens, Bond, and whatever else happens to be polluting my mind at any given time;
     Thread Starter

05-2-2020 11:53:24  #4

Re: Blue Bird 18b, circa 1963

Hi Again Teeritz

Glad we were able to get you going with a simple explanation and description. One day I'll get some pictures loaded into my Flickr account and see if I can link the appropriate picture(s) to my postings. All the best,



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