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When your new typewriter comes to live with you, the first thing you’ll want to know is a bit more about it. When is it from, what kind of ribbons does it take, all the little things that make it more yours, more exciting and most of all more usable!

My first port of call for finding out unexpected and fabulous information is Oz Typewriter. This has a very useful search function.

Somewhere on the top of your machine, you’ll find the make and model. For example, my latest acquisition, and one for which I haven’t done much digging yet, is an Olympia 66 in a zip-up case. It’s a small portable. so the typewriter equivalent of today’s laptop. From the looks, it dates from somewhere between the 60s and 70s.

A quick search tells me that my Olympia the joint Which? Best Buy of 1968 – sharing the honour with an Adler Tippa No. 1, an example of which I also happen to own!

There’s also a Typewriter Serial Number Database. Although I have yet to actually check the serial numbers of my four against this list – bad squishy!!

Once you have the make, model and year, you have the start of hours of happy browsing of the internet, finding stories and kindred spirits. Like this guy who uses his Olympia for “writing drafts and note-making from books”. Which makes me really happy.

Of course, you can also do the most vital thing of all once you know the make & model. Order replacement ribbons!

Replacement typewriter ribbons

My preferred ribbon supplier, who I’m sure I’ve written about before, is Mike at Typewriter Ribbons. This is mainly because they have a brilliant page explaining how to measure your existing ones. Which in turn means you can order the correct size. Failing that, Ryman also impressively still stock ribbons. And you can probably find them on Amazon if you know exactly what you want.

Next in the series – cleaning your typewriter. Because most of them have been in a shed or garage for years and are thick with dust!

We’d love to see pictures of yours – drop us a line at, tweet us a picture (@inkdropsbox) or tag us in an Instagram photo (@inkdropsbox).