AY Honor Typewriting Answer Key

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Skill Level






Approval authority

General Conference

Typewriting AY Honor.png
Skill Level
Approval authority
General Conference
Year of Introduction
See also


Show how to clean the type or element properly and change ribbon on a type writer.

Clean the type or element
  • There is/was a fuzzy pink material that you fed into the typewriter and then typed each key several times to clean the type/element.
  • You could dab alcohol on the type/element and brush off the type/element using an old toothbrush.
  • You could use a toothpick to clean the type/element individually, especially to clean out the center of some type/elements like: q, R, o, O, p, P, a, A, d, D, b, B, and some of the other keys.
Change the ribbon
  • Some typewriters came with a single spool of ribbon. You would have to open the cellophane pack, put the spool on the spindle, thread the ribbon through the guides and in the strike area, and catch the ribbon on the take-up spool. Wind the spool(s) somewhat to take up the slack, close it all up, and go wash your hands.
  • Some typewriters came with the ribbon in an enclosed cartridge, so all you had to do was to take out the old/spent cartridge and insert the new ribbon cartridge.


Know the difference between a fabric and a carbon ribbon.

  • A fabric ribbon is basically a ribbon of cloth that was soaked (impregnated) with ink and can be re-used until all of the 'ink' is depleted.
  • A carbon ribbon is basically a 'single use' ribbon. When the typewriter keys struck the ribbon, it transfers the carbon from the ribbon to the paper, and the ribbon now has no carbon (ink) there. Many of us were resourceful, and re-used the carbon ribbon until no more carbon was left.


Identify the following parts of the typewriter and know their function:




The type or elements and the keys are attached to the FRAME. The shift keys moves the FRAME so that the upper or lower case letters can be typed.



These are those 'keys' with the letters on them - the Q, W, E, R, T, Y, ...
Depending on the typewriter you have (if you can find one), there are 26 alphabet keys and some number keys (picture on the right shows only eight - 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9), comma, parentheses, period, and other useful keys. The lowercase "L" was used for one (l) and uppercase "o" was used for zero (O).


Space bar

The wide key in the center (left-right) on the bottom row (closest to you).


Backspace key

This key moves the carriage one position to the left (i.e. backwards, therefore, backspace).


Shift keys and lock

The SHIFT keys are on the bottom left and right (sometimes only on one side) that moves the frame up or down so that the CAPITAL letters are typed instead of lower case. The SHIFT LOCK key may also be on one side only and mechanically locks the frame into the UPPERCASE position.



The roller used in typewriters (and friction-feed printers) to hold the paper in position for the typebars or print head.


Impression control

This controlled how soft or hard the typewriter key(s) would hit the paper.


Margin stops

The MARGIN STOPS limited how far you can go to the left or right. When using the CARRIAGE RETURN, the carriage would stop on the left margin stop, which is your left margin (and where you started to type for each line). You would get a bell shortly before the right margin stop so that you could finish up your word and use the carriage return to get to the next line to continue.


Paper release

The PAPER RELEASE releases the paper from the PLATEN so that you did not have to turn the platen to remove the paper.


Leverline-space lever

(maybe the question was supposed to be line-space lever since there is no mention of the carriage return lever)
A LINE-SPACE LEVER is otherwise known as a carriage return lever. This 'lever' returns the carriage (and your paper) to the leftmost margin for you to start a new line. You can also use the carriage return lever to advance the paper (and go up, or skip) a line.


Line-finder control

Not sure if this is related to the CARDHOLDER where there is usually a horizontal line on the clear plastic, so that you can find the line you want to type on and can correctly position the paper so that you type on the right line.


Paper centering scale

There is a guide on the side of the carriage. This guide has markings for different widths of paper. You would move this guide/scale to the width of your paper (8.5-inch, 11-inch, etc.) and when you aligned your paper to this guide/scale, your paper would be centered on the platen.
(I believe that is only on the typewriters where the carriage did not actually move - i.e. the electric typewriters, where the typing head/element moved, instead of the carriage).



Paper is more flexible than card stock. The cardholder is the clear plastic on both sides of the strike area that holds cardstock back against the platen so that it does not lean forward too much because it is bent/rolled around in the platen.


Paper bail lever

The paper bail is a horizontal bar across the platen with a number of small rollers to hold down the paper. The PAPER BAIL LEVER was on one side of the carriage which lifted this paper bail.


Pitch selection lever

A modern advance in technology introduced selectable "pitch" so that the typewriter could be switched among pica ("10 pitch", or 10 characters per inch) and elite ("12 pitch"), in one document.
(This is also in 'newer' typewriters that were usually electric).


Margin release

The MARGIN RELEASE allowed typing beyond the right MARGIN STOP so that if you had one or two letters to finish the word, you could do that.


Know how to set tabs for tabulation. Properly type a tabulated page with at least four columns.

See Wikipedia about tab stops.
A tab stop on a typewriter is a location where the carriage movement is halted by mechanical gears. Tab stops are set manually, and pressing the tab key causes the carriage to go to the next tab stop.
To set a tab stop, you would advance the carriage to each position where you want the TAB key to stop, and press the tab set key. When you are typing, you would use the TAB key to advance the carriage to the TAB STOP, type the information, and press the TAB key to advance to the next tab stop.
For example, you may want to create table data:

Trains Farm Station Suburban Station City Center

 ------        ------------    ----------------   -----------
 Route101      06:30 am        07:00 am           07:30 am
 Route102      09:30 am        10:00 am           10:30 am
 Route202      12:30 pm        01:00 pm           01:30 pm
So, you would set the tab stops at the first position for each column, and press the TAB key as you finish the information in each column to quickly advance to the start of the next column.

Tab stop Tab stop Tab stop Tab stop

 |             |               |                  |
 v             v               v                  v
Trains Farm Station Suburban Station City Center ------ ------------ ---------------- ----------- Route101 06:30 am 07:00 am 07:30 am Route102 09:30 am 10:00 am 10:30 am Route202 12:30 pm 01:00 pm 01:30 pm
^ ^ ^ | | | Press TAB key when you finish the text to advance


Show how to center information horizontally and vertically on paper.

Center information horizontally
  • Count the number of spaces that the paper can contain from left to right (example: 80).
  • Count the number of letters for the line you are centering (example: 60).
  • Subtract the 60 from the 80, which results in 20 (for this example).
  • Divide the result (20) by two, which results in ten (10) (for this example).
  • You would start your typing TEN spaces from the left side of the paper.
Center information vertically
  • Count the number of lines that the paper can contain from top to bottom (example: 66)
  • Count the number of lines you want to type on the paper (example: 50)
  • Subtract the 50 from the 66 which results in 16 (for this example)
  • Divide the result (16) by two, which results in eight (8) (for this example).
  • You would advance the paper EIGHT lines down from the top before you start typing.
You have to do BOTH of the above to center information HORIZONTALLY and VERTICALLY.
Through trial and error, you will learn that there are half steps and other neat stuff you can do to get the information as centered as possible.


Show how to construct block and indented style letters.

In the block form, everything starts on the left margin.
Al Dubewe
123 Main Street
Anytown, State 12345

May 22, 1901

Bigman Oncampus Chief Bottlewasher Antique Typewriter Company 1616 Pennsylvania Avenue Mytown, Yourstate 99999

Dear Bigman Oncampus,
This is a letter in block form. No lines are indented. Your name and contact information is above and on the left, as is the date.
A new paragraph simply skips a line.
And then we have the closing paragraph here.

Your Signature
Your name Your title
In the indented form, you would indent each paragraph.
                                    Al Dubewe
                                 123 Main Street
                               Anytown, State 12345

May 22, 1901

Bigman Oncampus Chief Bottlewasher Antique Typewriter Company 1616 Pennsylvania Avenue Mytown, Yourstate 99999

Dear Bigman Oncampus,
In the indented form, each paragraph is indented. Again, your name and contact information is at the top, and either centered, or indented on the right side. Each new paragraph is indented.

Your Signature
Your name Your title


Operate a typewriter at a speed of forty words a minute on new material for five minutes with no more than five errors.

Practice makes perfect. This is your opportunity to show off what you have learned. Enjoy!

Historical Notes

Typewriting was one of the first AY honors, being introduced in 1929. It was discontinued in 1956 and then reintroduced as an antique honor in (anyone know when???).