Typewriter ribbon tins

From the Dieline packaging blog, a selection of vintage typewriter ribbon tins -- is there any consumable office product of the 21st century that is packaged this well?

Vintage Packaging: Typewriter Tins


  1. Before good plastic, you had to do something to keep the ink off of everything, and tin was the best they had.

    I stumbled upon a fresh Teletype ribbon the other day while cleaning out my shop, and it’s wrapped in poly shrink wrap that is capable of keeping its amazingly messy purple ink off my fingers.

  2. I have a small vintage typewriter collection and I have considered collecting these. THey only go for a few dollars a piece and they are really cool.

  3. I don’t know. Stamp pad ink, maybe. My tip tinner comes in a tin. I wish I’d saved all my McBarren’s tobacco and Balkan Sobranie cigarette tins. I saw a cigaratte tin going for $20 on ebay.

  4. I needed a plain silk typewriter ribbon for an old IBM. Staples didn’t stock them. I found one at the drug store.

  5. is there any consumable office product of the 21st century that is packaged this well?

    Yes. Altoids! Well, they are consumed in my office, anyway.

    Also, tea from Bencheley or Harrod’s.

  6. I love office supplies. I could easily see myself becoming a degenerate collector of pens, pencils, and interesting notepads. I also enjoy the tactile feeling of (say) a tin of Altoids or Penguin Mints.

    But it also seems to me that a disposable package made of metal, although it may be a pleasure to behold and to use, really is very wasteful. Even if you recycle the metal tins, the metal is energy-intensive to mine, refine, smelt, forge, paint, transport, and so on. There are real costs to making classy packages like these.

  7. I would be proud to have a Philco ribbon in my typewriter. Just look at it. Anything packaged like that means business.

  8. Lots of beautiful typewriter ribbon tins on ebay:

    I’m curious about when exactly these were in production. There seems to be little information to be gleaned from an admittedly quick google search. This can’t be the same Philco that’s known for radios and appliances (back in the day).

    Philips (with one L) bought the Philco brand in the 80’s. To me, this Philco typewriter from the Phillips Ribbon & Carbon Co. is rather intriguing for these reasons. Also, I’m always interested in things that came out of the once-great city of Rochester, where I went to university as an undergrad (U of R).

  9. Coffee tins and bags are the only office consumable packaging that comes to mind. Especially small roaster packaging. I’ll have to take a picture and toss one up :(

  10. The site remarks, rather wistfully, “If only ink cartridges could look so good…” Ironically, in a way, ink cartridges are exquisitely designed, but not for aesthetics; they’re designed to sell more ink cartridges–the mechanics and electronics within (as well as the corresponding components in the printers) in some brands not only working together to keep you from using refilled cartridges (instead of the “authentic” ink which is one of the most expensive substances for sale on earth, by weight), but will prompt you to replace the cartridge even when there’s still usable ink in it.

    This sacrifice of not only aesthetics but economy on the altar of naked greed has the effect of hastening the death of print; I use my Canon Pixma all-in-one much more for converting print documents to electronic ones via the scanning function than vice versa. Well, at least the forests appreciate it…

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