Typewriter Paper and Carbons-PART 1

Some of the often overlooked ephemera relating to typewriters are the onionskin sheets and carbon sheets that were manufactured.  I have found that these often have some very cool copy and branding logos.

Here’s an envelope for carbon paper sold by the Ulbrich’s stationery store.

Ulbrichs carbon envelope fr

Envelope for carbon paper, store branded

Ulbrich’s was still a growing concern in the 1950s.   It appears that Ulbrich’s filed for bankruptcy in 1990.

Below is the cover for a box of carbon sheets from the Kee Lox company.  Branded as Panama, with a very popular icon of the day, a passenger jet plane.

panama box fr

Panama carbon paper box

Here are some companion promotional items, branded tape measures.

As might be expected, it can be tricky to find detailed information on companies that were established in the 19th  and early 20th century.  After a small amount of digging for information I ran across this website which provided this little tidbit:

To get a grasp on the scope of ribbon tin manufacture, it’s helpful to note the major national ribbon makers. They were Kee-Lox (Rochester, NY); Carter’s (Boston); Mittag & Volger (Park Ridge, NJ); Miller-Bryant-Pierce (Aurora, IL); Webster (Boston) and Underwood (various locations) and Manifold Supplies (Brooklyn, NY), known for its famous Panama tins.

Kee Lox held several trademarks for carbon paper including Panama-Beaver, Thin-Thin, Dri Kleen, Kee Lectric, Klarograph, and Grip-N-Pull.

While attempting to find out more about the Kee Lox manufacturing company, I stumbled upon this gem of a post by a favorite typewriter enthusiast.  The page has a nice biography regarding the president of the Kee Lox Manufacturing Company, Winfield Perry Pembroke.

The blog post itself involves a ribbon tester made by Kee Lox.  I didn’t even know I needed one!

I’ll be posting more on the subjects of paper and carbons soon.  ~TH~


Carbon paper machine by Pembroke

Smith Corona SL480-Eureka!

My recent acquisition of a 1992 Smith-Corona SL480, and a EUREKA moment. I pulled the ribbon cart out and closed the lid- noticed that the critter would still type. Hmmm… If my ribbon cart runs out while I’m in the field (with electricity), I can simply load two sheets with a carbon in the middle. True, it then becomes an invisible, but hey! I can still type! Carry those carbons folks! ~TH~


Underwood Portable 536035

OK- this little four bank portable was destined for the trash heap, so I brought it home.  It’s in rough shape, but it does type if you can cajole the paper into the carriage.  I’ve never seen one quite like it.  That is, I’ve never seen a (terrible) “faux wood” finish on a typewriter.  Atrocious!


The really unusual thing is the character set- notice on the right hand keys… just exactly what are those hieroglyphs?  I recognize the Rx… is it a typewriter from a pharmacy?  The typeset is certainly small enough for a pill bottle.


Serial number 536035.  1931.    Comments welcome.  🙂







Journal- 10-11-2016

So… when you find a banded racing pigeon, you’re supposed to feed and water it, then drive it a long distance from where you found it, so that it can return home.  Did that.  Too well.  It now appears that this racing (homing) pigeon has pegged us as… home.


here is Francine

We traced her to a Syracuse organization, but we have been unsuccessful in getting a reply from the owner.  Laurie had a very helpful conversation with a veteran pigeon racer who advised that we drive the bird at least 12 miles away and release her- the thought being that she would pick up the route from the race and return home.  Well… I guess we fed her too well.

I drove her 25 miles away from our house this morning and released her; it was great fun watching her spiral upward, getting her bearings.  Being very pleased with myself, I treated myself to a lunch at a favorite spot in the area.  I pulled the cage out of the van upon my return home and set it in the driveway.  I went into the house briefly, and when I came back outside, there she was, happy to see her cage – Francine.

I have learned more about raising, nurturing and racing pigeons in the last 48 hours than I ever knew I wanted to know.  She’s pretty savvy, like a charming cousin that you just can’t say no to when they’ve overstayed their welcome.

I guess we have a homing pigeon now.  ~TH~