Monday, January 24, 2011

The Problem

With as many typewriters as I have here in the classroom you can imagine that they get a fair amount of use. The machines are holding up quite well. It's the ribbons that are starting to wear out. Every period each typewriter is being used. They are primarily used for journaling which is a minimum of 20 lines each day. That means that each period the typewriters are used to write 260 lines of prose. Over the course of the day that would be 1300 lines of journals. On average each line is about 15 words long. In one day the typewriters are being used to write nearly 20,000 words. I would guess that the average English word is around 5 letters long. That is a total of 100,000 words per day (or 7700 key presses per machine per day). I have not changed the ribbon en masse, yet. We have been doing this about 4 months. If you do the math, each ribbon has been through a minimum of 677,600 impressions.

I need ribbon. Lots of ribbon. I really want to find a place where I could get it in bulk and wind my own spools. All of the spools in the machines are metal and can be reused. The trouble is finding a distributor. I think China is the answer. I sent an email to my uncle who is an importer and knows his way around business in China. With any luck I can find some inked ribbon.