My "new" plant labeler

I've talked about plant markers or labels before, and how my favorite is using a strip of vinyl window blinds written on with pencil. It's a fantastic solution for potted plants, but I've wanted something that I could use to label some of my in-ground plants: shrubs, bamboos, roses, etc.

I've seen the metal tags that they use on trees at the Missouri Botanical Gardens -- sort of a dog tag for each specimen -- and that's what I've been looking for. Something permanent, something embossed. Oh, but it has to be inexpensive, because I don't have a botanical garden's budget of course. I recently found my answer -- sort of.


After a hour or so of Internet research started on a whim one afternoon, I found the answer: the original Dymo label maker was made almost entirely out of metal, and it could easily emboss not only the standard plastic labels, but metal labels as well!

As you can see, it's not only solid...

...but a thing of beauty!

The eBay listing for this particular one said that "the letter wheel turns and the handle squeezes", and that's entirely true. What it didn't say though is that this was a working item, and I now know why.

When you squeeze the handle to imprint a character, the tape is supposed to advance to the next position, ready for another squeeze. There are a couple of problems in that area though. The first is that the rollers have seen better days:

They appear to be made of leather, if that's even possible. I'll know once I take this baby apart, because my plan is to get it working again.

The gear mechanism seems to be intact, although something is keeping it from turning correctly:

Again, I'll see what's going on once I get this apart. I'm confident I can repair it.

You can actually buy a modern labeler that will work on metal, but it's extremely expensive -- close to $200 -- and I picked up this one for about $35. I would probably have paid more if it had been working, but I'm quite pleased with it.

Even if I don't find replacement parts and don't get this thing functioning to help me remember my plant names, it will look good on a shelf in my office, right?

I'm planning on taking this apart this weekend, so may have an update on this next week. Hopefully it will be good news.


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DYMO Support  – (January 24, 2014 at 9:24 AM)  

Great review and great pictures! You really do have one of our finest label makers. We want to thank you for sharing this with us and wish you a great time with the Dymo Mite. ^CP

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (January 24, 2014 at 10:18 AM)  

Ever the engineer, LOL. Let us know how it turns out!

Unknown  – (January 24, 2014 at 8:10 PM)  

Good luck! Can't wait to see how you go

scottweberpdx  – (January 25, 2014 at 8:45 AM)  

No that is cool...and beautiful...hope you can get it working again!

danger garden  – (January 25, 2014 at 12:51 PM)  

That's a thing of beauty and I have every confidence you can get it working again. And look you've got the ear of DYMO support if you need it.

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