Southern Style Southern Charm

Vintage Typewriter Ribbon Tin Collection

I have always liked typewriters and have been collecting them for years. I have bought and sold them as my tastes have changed. I also bought and sold a lot when I had my antique booth. But you know what happens after collecting them for a while? You run out of room! There are still a few models that I would like to acquire and that I would definitely make room for, but I only buy them now if I really like them.

As I began collecting them years ago, I would occasionally purchase one that came with a vintage typewriter ribbon tin. I always saved these, basically stuck them away somewhere. But one day I was walking through an antique store and saw a really pretty one for sale. I immediately realized that they were something that I would enjoy collecting and eventually displaying.

I pulled out what I had stored away and then I started shopping on ebay. I determined that the best way to buy them was in larger lots. It was a way to pay less per tin plus it saved a lot on shipping. It was also a great way to find some of the more rare and pretty tins. Some of them are real pieces of art.

Typewriter ribbon tins were first used to package ribbons in the 1870s. The ribbons were sold in tins until the 1960s. Some of the major ribbon makers were Kee-Lox, Carters, Mittag & Volmer, Webster, Underwood, and Manifold Supplies (creator of the Panama tins).

The earliest tins often featured pictures of typewriters. They eventually became more artistic and featured decorative designs such as flowers, animals, birds, stylishly dressed ladies, airplanes, ships, and trains.  Some of the more collectible tins feature Art Deco designs.

I had been thinking for awhile about how I was going to display my collection. One day I just happened to remember this really cool hardware storage shelf that my father-in-law had given me. He had made it years ago and when he moved to a new house a few years ago he just didn’t have a use for it anymore.

I have it hanging in my sewing room and as you can see, I still have room for a few more tins. In the meantime, I have filled in some of the extra spaces with cat figurines, another item that I collect.


Currently I have a few of the tins for sale on etsy. I plan to sell enough of my least favorites to cover the costs of buying more of the ones that I really like. I don’t think my collection will grow much larger (I know, I have said that before. LOL). As I said I may swap out a few but I don’t want to go overboard. I like the idea of keeping this display cabinet full and I don’t really want more than that.

Some of my favorites feature beautiful cameo silhouettes. These three were made by Carter’s.

Here are some of the others in my collection. The Carter’s florals are very pretty too.

You can see the airplane tins in the next two photos. They are part of the set that I have for sale on Etsy.

I will probably sell the Buccaneer pirate tins too and replace them with more feminine designs. They are definitely a fun, interesting, and pretty item to collect.

8 Responses

  1. What a neat thing to collect! It looks like you have quite a collection, and some of them are so neat. Thanks so much for sharing!

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