The Typewriter: A Post SHTF Printing Press

ReadyNutriton Guys and Gals, we have “gamed” a bunch of different scenarios for the S hitting the Fan, such as electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, a good nuclear war, or a natural ELE (Extinction-Level Event), such as a meteor impact or a solar flare Carrington event.  Loss of power in all of these is almost a foregone conclusion.  So, then what?  Do we run around akin to “Korg 70,000 B.C.” without the ability to use computers or send information via the phone or the Internet?  Yes and no.  Certainly, the electricity will not be there to spare to use computers (if they are either hardened or protected to see it through) other than for brief moments.  The typewriter, though, is another matter.

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A Post-SHTF Printing Press

Now is the time to pick one of those manual typewriters up.  If you have formed any type of intentional community/survivalist group you will need one of these.  It will be necessary to disseminate instructions, records, and messages to other communities.  Those old typewriters will then become “state of the art,” as it could be decades before there is (if ever) any community-type power or electrical supplies.

As a community, you’ll need to keep records…vital ones, such as births, marriages, and deaths.  You’ll need some talented writers to record the history that is happening.  The news is simply history that hasn’t played out yet and is happening now.  This may seem a small thing, but it’s really a big deal.  Unless you’re going to take the tedious time to write out everything clearly and legibly in print, that typewriter is your best bet.  I still have mine: a 1962 manual Olympia that I typed all of my papers in college with.  Still runs as good as new.

You will need several things for your typewriter, and they are as follows:

  1. Extra ribbon: believe it or not, they can still be ordered. If not, find a ribbon of comparable dimensions to the one you found, and unspool it onto the ribbon that fits your typewriter, securing both of the ends.  You can also re-ink the ribbon to stretch out the life expectancy even more.
  2. Ink: for what I just mentioned. There are also “roll-on” bottles available that you can fill with a metal or plastic “roller.”  Fill the bottle up with ink.  Make sure the roller is slightly wider than the ribbon you’re re-inking.  You’ll have to test it to come up with the optimal way and amount to spread on your ribbon.
  3. A small tool kit and oil: to maintain that typewriter. With mine, I find keeping it covered if it sits out, or in its case is the best thing possible.  A light dusting and a coating of oil down at the “roots” (where the keys connect with the actual typeset-arms) will help.
  4. Plenty of paper: use your own judgment, but you can never have enough. Go with plain white paper.
  5. White out and erasing supplies: most of the older manual types don’t have a correcting ribbon. You can also use “correction paper” that you just slip in between the key/ribbon and the paper, and just retype the letter you messed up on.
  6. Carbon paper: yes, good old carbon paper to make 3 or 4 copies at a time. Remember: You may now be the newspaperman/woman for your community!  Bulletins, flyers, and the like take time.  You can save some of that time with carbon paper.fo
  7. An instructional book on typing: yes, how to type. This valuable skill I learned in high school for one year…one of the best investments I ever made.  You will have kids in those communities, and those kids need to learn the art of typing.  Even taking a class in it (if you don’t know how) may benefit you down the road.

There are a lot of different places to look for typewriters.  Manual is what you want.

Manual is what I learned on, and electric became a snap.  Do kids today learn to type in school still?  We have keyboards on computers, after all.  Some of you parents drop me a line and let me know if they still teach it.

Read “A Canticle for Leibowitz,” a science-fiction tale by Miller.  It shows a post-apocalyptic descent into the Dark Ages, followed by a rise, and then another fall.  There is nothing new under the sun.  Still, we make it from Dark Age to Dark Age by preserving our knowledge.  The typewriter may do just that for you in the years to come after the SHTF.  What you manage to put away now, your grandchildren will thank you for in the years to come.  Stay in that good fight, and keep your focus!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 7th, 2017
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  • Ted

    No typewriter, but I have….a pencil.

  • In addition to a manual typewriter (I have two of them), consider getting a Kelsey Press. It is a hobby-sized movable type, hand-operated printing press. One tube of ink and some cleaning solvent will let you print an almost unlimited number of copies. They can still be gotten off of Ebay. Do a search for Kelsey Excelsior Press. They come in sizes – 3×5, 5×8, etc. We had one in Shop class when I was in high school – fun hobby, but can be a bit messy.

    Another handy thing to have would be a paper cutter – conserve paper by only using the size you need.

  • What is the difference between a good nuclear war and a bad one.
    You would think that an EMT would stock up on medical equipment, but maybe he plans on eating his patients.
    I don’t remember Katrina getting to western Montana.

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