February 2011

1971 Olympia SM9

The one machine to have if you’re having only one…..

Early Smith-Corona Electric - late 1950's probably

It works, but has a small issue with the basket shift. It won’t return up quite all the way, cutting off the letter bottoms.

1960's? Remington Premier

This Remy is heading to a friend’s 10-year-old daughter, who’s been begging her parents for a typewriter.

Late 1960's Smith Corona Deluxe Librarian

Got this one on Craigslist for $20 – never seen one before or since. Removable platen. Workhorse machine.

Late 1950's (I think) Olympia SM3

Another cheap Craigslist find.

SM3 logo detail

Now if I could just get this cool logo onto the SM9……

1950's Smith Corona Silent Super

I bought this from the publisher of Typex, when he visited my home from Philadelphia last year. Great machine.

Olivetti/Underwood Model 21 (late 1960's, I assume)

One thing about the Olivettis – they definitely had a distinctive look and vibe about them. The Saab of typewriters.

Olivetti detail

Adler Tippa S - 1970's most likely

Despite the plastic outer chassis, it’s well made on the inside where it counts. A decent travel typer, and pretty quiet, too.

This was going to be a typecast, but I’m at work.

1) Since I live in New England, I was able to watch Tom Furrier and Cambridge Typewriter get featured on Chronicle last Friday night, which airs on WCVB channel 5 in the Boston area. The show had several segments about technologies that are obsolete but still hanging around, like typewriters, pay phones, cassette players, VHS tapes, etc. The segment with Cambridge Typewriter was good I thought, and not mocking in any way. They also spoke with a local travel writer who has written about 60 books, all on typewriter, and also mentioned that many young people are becoming curious about the machines, since most teenagers have never even seen a typewriter before.

I also heard a story this morning on NPR about how every kind of tool ever invented, and I mean every kind, is still being made brand new and used somewhere in the world. They went as far back as prehistoric stone tools. Believe it or not, there are people around the world who are hobbyists that like to make and use stone tools like early humans did (and I thought the people who collect anvils were on the fringe). So the moral of the story is: tools never die, no matter how “obsolete” they may seem.

2) I was going through the 7 manual typers I currently own over the weekend, and even though the latest acquisitions are all in very good condition, the first machine I ever bought 2 years ago is still the best, and my favorite: a 1971 Olympia SM9. I payed maybe $30 with shipping for it on eBay, brought it to Tom Furrier for servicing and cleaning, and man, you would think I just bought the thing brand new. This baby is perfect. The only wish I have is that it had the script Olympia logo on the front. Instead it has the red dot logo and boring “OLYMPIA” in all caps. I’m thinking of buying one a few years older, mainly for spare parts, and swapping the hoods. Nothing against the red dot, but the script logo has more flair and really gives the 1950’s-1960’s look I like on typewriters from the middle of the century.