If you could pick an object that encapsulated the evolution of the typewriter from, say, the electromechanical era to the electronic, it might be something like this …

A Roytype ribbon cassette which allows an old style spooled ribbon to be used in an electronic wedge.

It seems the plastic sleeve is only used as an applicator to mount the spooled ribbon onto the ribbon mechanism …

Ink ribbons and ink cartridges are all very well, but this second object might be even more evolutionary

A Silver Reed Gothic Mini 15 (clip-on) daisy wheel. Note how the cap and the spring mechanism closely resembles those used on IBM Selectric golf balls …

These wheels are referred to in the Raro Plastics Rarotype print wheel compatibility guide.

Oddly, Raro Plastics appear to have omitted a heading for Silver Reed, but the following sub headings and series are identifiable as Silver Reed:

  • All EX-Series models (Clip-on printwheel)
  • EZ Series (Cartridge Wheel)

Until I finally got my hands on an instruction guide, I hadn’t realised that the Silver Reed EX 42 compact electronic typewriter I own takes a clip-on wheel (which shows how little time I’ve had to play with it).