How to Change the Ribbon in a Brother Typewriter

By Emma Lee

Updated September 26, 2017

Some people still prefer manual typewriters over computers.
i working typewriter image by timur1970 from

Many typewriters have an automatic reverse which allows the ribbon to rewind on the second spool. This feature allows the ribbon to be reused many times. Eventually the ink on the ribbon will become faded and the ribbon spools will need to be replaced. With a little practice, changing the ribbon is a quick process.

Remove or lift the lid that covers the striking keys. This reveals the ribbon cartridges or spools.

Release the ribbon from the posts located midway between the cartridges. These posts are called the type guide and the ribbon vibrator. Wear disposable gloves to keep ink off of your fingers. Ease the ribbon down and under the vibrator. Gently pull away from the posts. Pay attention to the pattern so you can replace a new ribbon using the reverse procedure.

Lift the ribbon spools off the posts that hold them in place. The spool may have a latch to release before the spool can be lifted off the post. Some models may need a slight twist to release from the post, while others can be pulled straight up from the post. Note that the ribbon is at the top of the spool. The new ribbon will replace it.

Place the new ribbon spool on the left and right posts and secure in place. The ribbon spool should drop in place and secure automatically. If not, use the latch to secure the spool.

Attach the ribbon to the posts located midway between the spools. Tighten the ribbon for a taut fit and replace the lid.


Spools or cartridges are packaged with one ribbon connected by two spools. Note the direction of the old ribbon before removing. When laying the ribbon spools side by side, the ribbon will connect the spools at the top. The ribbon will not fit correctly if it is at the bottom of the spool.