Per my request, my parents recently dropped off their Smith Corona CX 4000 electric typewriter at my apartment. I remember my parents purchasing it for my sister when she was in high school, in the mid-to-late eighties, at either J.C. Penny or Montgomery Ward.
I asked my parents if I could have their old typewriter because I wanted to use it for one of the new Flapper Girl projects I’m working on. I’ve designed a bunch of vintage pinup Valentine cards, and I think the aesthetic of the typewritten letters would be perfect for them.
Anyway, I was all excited to use it the other day, but when I plugged it in, I was sad to find the ink ribbon cartridge had dried up. Or, maybe I had used it all up back in 1992, when my childhood best friend and I decided it would be fun to play office and type up important fart joke memos all summer long… but that’s neither here nor there.
The point is, I needed to find a typewriter cartridge, and I really did not want to drive what seems like 748590437295 miles to St. Johns, the ‘Couv, the Tron, Gresham, or anywhere else a quick search on Dexonline pointed me to. I found one place on 35th and Division, but upon calling and asking if they sold typewriter supplies, the man on the line said, “Sorry, we went out of business a year and a half ago.” Drats.
My boyfriend suggested I try “that old-school office supply store behind Maiden in the Mist.” So, today on my lunch break I hauled my typewriter towards that general direction, and found exactly the place he was talking about: Office Supply Co. on SE 6th and Alder.
Hot damn! I will never purchase my office supplies anywhere but there ever again. As I walked through the front door, it felt like I had stepped into the year 1978. The old dude working there was super helpful, and led me to the end cap of typewriter cartridges (complete with old displays that I’m sure had been there for over 20 years). He even had me bring in my typewriter from the back of my car, so he could make sure the cartridges were going to fit.
So if you’re in Portland and looking for vintage office supplies, or ever need typewriter ribbons, or would rather support small, independent businesses than give your money to corporate vampires when you purchase your Sharpie pens, definitely check this place out.