I've seen people ask about restoring printer or typewriter ribbons, but my situation's a little different. I have a self-inking ribbon for a DECwriter Correspondent. It's easy to open up the casing, and inside there's an "infinite" ribbon (the ends are connected together). There's a large wheel that's supposed to be saturated with ink; it rolls against a small wheel which then rolls against the ribbon, transferring ink to it (at least that's the plan).

Everything, or course, is dried out.

I've tried saturating the large wheel with stamp pad ink but it doesn't seem to be transferring to the ribbon. It transfers to my fingers just fine.

Any ideas how to get this working?

Thank you, Bob

  • 1
    Comment because I don't know for sure about your particular device, but a liberal application of WD-40 is the usual wheeze for breathing life into dried-out ribbons. It produces dubious results in that case, but saturating the large wheel with a suitable solvent (of which WD-40 is a convenient if perhaps not ideal choice) to dissolve-away congealed ink before replacing it with good ink seems to be worth a try.
    – pndc
    Sep 25, 2019 at 11:12
  • +1 to the WD40 --- impact ribbons typically run out of solvent before they run out of actual ink. Nov 10, 2020 at 22:36


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