Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ribbons and Back To School

Monday is the first day of school. Over the past week I have been getting my classroom ready for the new crop of Juniors to pass through my door. The biggest project I had to do was move about 40 typewriter cases to a storage space on campus. Kindly, our Plant Manager has allowed me to more-or-less commandeer a disused storage closet as the typewriter "warehouse." This closet is also home to surplus computers and furniture. It's a bit of a jumble, but nowhere nearly as messy as Robert's storage unit.

Friday I called Baco to place my yearly order for ribbons. It's always nice to get a chance to chat with Charlene. Actually, she was here a few months ago visiting her sister. She made it out to the Mesa Typewriter Exchange and wanted to stop by my classroom, but her schedule didn't allow it. Regardless, it was very nice to chat on the phone.

Baco is one of those wonderful quirks of capitalism. It's a small business that survived dominance by big business only to be the last large-scale manufacturer of ribbons in the Midwest. How did they do it when NuKote and Ko-Rec-Type and Roytype stopped making typewriter ribbons long ago? By finding a niche and staying there.

Baco's ribbons are made by-hand on equipment that dates back to the founding of the company. Some of the machines used in their manufacture is hand-made. "If it breaks I either call someone out to fix it or I fix it myself," said Charlene.

"It is a business that has stayed pretty constant over the years," said Charlene. "We never advertise and people just need ribbons."

Baco started out as an Ames distributor, but turned to ribbons long ago as the bulk of their business. Now, it's just ribbons. People all over the nation use Baco ribbons. Some of the biggest names in the Typosphere use Baco ribbons.

"I don't know how many customers we have," said Charlene, "but I know it's a lot." Baco is one of the last places that carries typewriter ribbons for a reasonable price and are willing to sell to private individuals. Yes, Fine Line Ribbon, I am talking about you. I know that I am not a business, but I want bulk ribbons at a reasonable price!

Anyway, call Charlene at Baco and buy yourself some nice ribbons. I do believe that I ordered a few extra green...

Summer was fun, but now it is time to get back to the CTP!


  1. I am unable to find a website for Baco, so I assume they do not have one. Do they have a catalog, or do I just have to call? Also, if you don't mind my asking, how are the prices?
    Good luck with the new school year and keeping those typers up and running. That has to be a full time job, what with all those kids banging on em all day! I would love to watch that unfold.

  2. I wonder if they'd be interested in shipping ribbons to Mexico... I'd be interested in buying a "small" amount of their fine ribbons for my babies. That green ribbon would look great in my Oliver...

  3. NuKote still makes ribbons, so do a few other places. Go to any office supply store and they should have a few for $6-7 each. I am sure these elusive Baco ribbons are better, but the ones from Staples or Office Max or local stores are pretty good.

  4. Nice to learn a bit more about Baco. Long may they ink! Their ribbons are good and affordable.

    Here's their contact information:

    Baco Ribbon & Supply Co.
    2230 Mason Lane
    Ballwin, MO 63021

    fax 314-835-9361

  5. School starts early in AZ. I though the schools in FL started early. Then looking back to the old days I complained when our school moved the time up from the Monday after Labor Day to the day after Labor Day. When off to college I never batted an eye at starting mid-August or taking classes over the summer. A different mind-set, I like the college class work.

    Thanks for the information on Baco I wondered if they made their own. I knew of them and have some of their ribbons.

  6. Here's a link to a previous post that talks about the pricing on BACO ribbons.

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