Typewriter Problems

by Chris Joseph; Updated September 26, 2017

While typewriters are gradually being phased out by the proliferation of personal computers, they are still present in some home and office settings. While many operating problems may require the service of a repairperson, many can be remedied easily. Here are some of the more common problems and how they can be alleviated.

Typing Technique

A common problem is when keys “stick,” as a result of the letters piling on top of each other. This is usually caused by poor typing technique, when two keys are pressed simultaneously. This can be eliminated by the typist working at an even, steady pace and knowledge of proper keyboarding methods being applied. To learn and develop keyboarding skills, visit www.davis.k12.ut.us/cjh/appliedtech/Business/Keyboarding/

Ribbon Installation

Another typewriter issue is improper installation of the ribbon. This can occur in two areas; how the ribbon is placed around the spools, and how it is fitted on the ribbon vibrator. If the typeface of the ribbon is dirty or smudged, it will also result in a lack of clarity of the characters on the paper. In this case, the ribbon will likely need to be replaced.

Work Area

An inadequate work area will also result in the typewriter not working properly. If the surface is uneven or unstable, the carriage operation may be compromised. Unwanted sliding of the carriage may occur, which can result in the “skipping” of letters while typing. For proper operation, the typewriter should be placed on a smooth, flat surface that will not result in movement or excess vibration.

User Unfamiliararity

Many problems are the result of the typist not being familiar with the nuances of the machine being used. Many typewriters have unique features such as how the margins are set and the operation of carriage locks. It is advisable to consult the owner’s manual, if available, before operating the machine to become aware of its distinct features.

Foregin Objects

If objects become lodged in the machine it may not operate properly. Common items include packing material, crumbs, or in the case of manual erasing, residue or eraser fragments. Careful removal should be undertaken, with disassembling the machine being conducted as a last resort.