I have an Olivetti Model 21 (basically a Studio 44) that I have de-gunked and cleaned, but have yet to oil. The problem is, I don’t know where to apply oil. I have cleaned up a few machines, but have hesitated to oil them in fear of putting too much, or in the wrong places. I’ve heard from more than one person to never oil the segment (the semi circle where all the type bars are attached), but I have no idea about anything else.

The Oli has a heavy action, and I’m wondering if it’s because I have never oiled the machine. Anybody out there done this before?


Does anybody have any experience with an Olivetti Studio 45? It appears to be the plastic-bodied successor to the Studio 44/Model 21, with a few cost-cutting measures in terms of components thrown in. But is it basically the same machine, with the same feel and durability?

I have to admit the plastic chassis reminds me of the old Apple II’s and Atari computers of my youth, and I just love the shape of the keys and the BIG letters on them. Before I take the plunge, however, I’m looking for some insight, since I probably would have to commit to one of these sight unseen.


I’ve given away a few machines lately (the latest was my only electric portable, an early one), mainly because I know I wouldn’t have used them as much as they deserve to be used. I’ve pared down my collection a little to the essentials. Several factors prevent me from having a larger collection:

1. Money, or lack of it.

2. Lack of space. I live in a modest home with not even a place to have a permanent workbench.

3. I’m not much of a collector by nature. I don’t just pick up machines in an effort to have examples of everything (although I applaud those that do – they are preserving a part of our history). I selected the ones I own because I like to type on them.

I figure I’d like to have a small collection of machines in excellent working condition. This dream team would include one of each of the following: Hermes 3000 (2nd generation), Olympia SM9 (got it), Olympia SM3,4 or 5 (got the ‘3), Smith Corona Silent Super from the 50’s (got it), Olympia SF or Hermes Rocket, Olivetti Lettera 32, Olivetti Studio 44 (got an Olivetti 21 – essentially the same thing), Torpedo portable, Underwood TM5 desktop, Olympia SG1 or SG3 desktop. That’s 10 machines total to achieve Omnipresent Galactic Creaminess. A goal worth reaching for, I think.

Let’s hope I can achieve it before they all end up either in the landfill, or with their fingertips all cut off.

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.