I found a new toy in my favourite local junk shop! It’s a battery-powered portable typewriter from 1986, the Canon TypeStar 4 (slightly German edition), which uses an interesting technique to make the marks on the paper: a thermal print head, which I hadn’t seen on a typewriter before. It would print on special treated paper or use an equally special ribbon (which came with it). I got it for five francs, and I can see them on eBay for about $15, so that’s 200% profit.
I made a video demonstrating it, and opening it up and having a look at what makes it tick:
Interestingly, the ribbon it came with was almost full, and about ten minutes after I finished making that video (while typing on it, enjoying the excellent keyboard), the ribbon ran out. Looking at the ribbon I suddenly remembered something very important about old plastic typewriter ribbons…
So there you go.
I am, by the way, converting the keyboard for USB with the intent to use it on a PC (or at least attempting to). If it works, expect a video series.