Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Question - Old Typewriter

Home decorating is not my gift. My sister can take a few items and artfully arrange them into something lovely. I just follow the "less is more" slogan and avoid most knick-knacks.

Besides, most of my flat surfaces are filled with books.

But when we helped clean out a friend's old shed, we were given this old manual typewriter. I would love to use it somewhere in my home but I don't have any idea how. 

It is too large to sit on shelf or mantel. It is very heavy and must be made of solid cast-iron. Right now it is just sitting on the floor.

The children have been having fun playing with it. It has no ribbon but all the keys work and they have managed to ink up the keys with a stamp pad and print a few words.

I'm sure some of you have a creative eye and can dream up all sorts of possibilities for an old typewriter.

If this was in your home, what would you do with it? How would you display it? What would you display with it?


  1. Up until a few years ago we had one similar ... a Remington Rand I think it was. Got ink ribbons for it and used it for old fashioned letter writing. It was quilte the work out. When we moved to smaller place we gave it to Amish family so I hope they still use it. I think it'd be hard to dust for just a decorative piece.

    1. I never even considered that it would be possible to still get ink ribbons for it. I'll have to check it out.

  2. I have my grandmother's 1930 typewriter and have it sitting on a sofa table. You could display it on a coffee table or top of a bookshelf. Mine has no ribbon and hubby is trying to get the roller operational. My plan is to print off various Bible verses in a" typewriter sort of font" and then role it into the typewriter to catch people's attention.
    Johnsie Mae Taylor is the dear lady I am speaking of and my mom says I have her sewing, quilting, penny pinching ways. She wrote down every expense in a book daily...................she was a widow............wouldn't Dave Ramsey be proud of her?

  3. If you want somewhere to set it out, you could almost put it by your phone on a light stand, like mount your phone to the wall, or have a painting above, with the typewriter on the small table. Similarly on a dresser/ bureau.

    I'm just thinking phone, because you could have a drawer for the phone book in the light stand.

  4. Did you check pinterest for ideas? I'd put it on a coffee table or side table, sit it on top of some large books, like old encyclopedia or place a stack of old book next to it with a vase of flowers. What a great piece! They are very popular, you probably could sell it if you don't want it.

    We bought one at a thrift store (not that big, it was a portable type but still old and heavy) for our daughter's wedding. We sat it on the guest book table. Andrea is very good at grouping things together like that too.

  5. Here is a source for your typewriter ribbon.

  6. I learned to type on something similar! If you can get it fixed up, your older children might learn to type on it if they don't know already.I think most of this new generation are using the 'hunt and peck' method of typing on their computer keyboards. I would get it operational, and since it's nearly indestructable, set it up on a desk where the children can have at it! Typewriter,plain paper (in an old fashioned box that Hemmingway might have used!) and some pretty stationary as well, Add a vase with flowers! You could hang a pin-board on the wall behind or near it, with some inspiring type written notes tacked up, that the children could add to as they learn to type.
    My Grandaughter was fascinated by my typing skills and asked me to teach her. She learned in a day.and she was just 9. I was about the same age when I learned too. My mother taught me and I practiced all on my own.
    Can'[t wait to see what you do!

  7. Do you have a piano? Mine lived on top of there for many years. Now it currently sits on top of a bookshelf

  8. I absolutely love that! It would look great in an office or on a low stool. That is quite a treasure :)

  9. Very cool!!

    This all made me think of the elderly man (named Paul Smith) who had cerebral palsy...and who "painted" pictures (SPECTACULAR!)) with just the use of a typewriter. Google this story - you'll be blown away. It's amazing!!

  10. I'm like you...not particularly creative in the home-decorating department, so I don't have any suggestions. I like Grandma Ruth's ideas, though. I had one of those in my home growing up. I just loved those round keys. Very cool!

  11. Pinterest has some wonderful ideas for using old typewriters as decoration! I know that it would look nice on a bookshelf, surrounded by books! Especially if your books are kind of the same color - perhaps vintage-like. It would be cool if it could still be used!

  12. A small desk, vintage school desk or vintage typewriter stand would be great way to display your typewriter while also being functional when someone wants to use the typewriter.. The vintage typewriter stands are not too hard to find and often have folding arms on each side for books or papers while tying. Some stands have a bottom shelf that could hold books, a plant or or even a plant & wheels so it can easily be moved. Thrift shops, flea markets or Ebay are all good places to find these simple typewriter stands in both wood or painted metal finishes. I know Ebay often sells various brands of ribbon often for just $2-$3 each & parts/manuals if you find a part like the spools need replacing. If you look online under "refurbishing vintage typewriters" there is lots of information about cleaning the typewriter & everything you need to make sure you have it running great. As a kid I loved typing on our old Royal typewriter. I loved learning to type when I was about 9. Each keystroke makes that distinct clacking sound that modern computer keyboards lack. I searched online after entering "How to display a vintage typewriter in home" & there are lots of sites with thousands of pictures of ways to decorate using a typewriter. has great photos & suggestions to look at. I'm sure the photos will inspire you to find a look that suits your home & personal taste. You may be better at decorating than you think. The typewriter is a great piece.

  13. I would sell it on EBay to a collector of such things and give the money to the poor.

  14. Looks like a toe-stubber for sure if it stays where it is.

  15. Does it fit on the typing table in your sewing corner? That would get it up off the floor and provide a good place for the kids to have access to it. I agree, learning to type on an old typewriter is fun. We had one from my aunt when I was a child and I typed many things on it, it still lives in our basement but has a bent/unoperable key now...
    Shannon in Ohio (who emailed)


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