Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Splendid Olympia Portable

A rather plain Jane, she is. Still, I'm teaching myself to be restrained and not bust out the can of spray paint just yet. We'll just let it sit for a while and see.

There are some typewriters you bring home not because you're intensely curious about the make/ model/ mechanism, but because they are inoffensive, in working order, fairly portable, and the asking price is far too low to say no. Notagain knows what I mean; his corner of Washington state is flooded with such finds! Occasionally they find their way to Geneva too, hence this one.

If you're one of those who found the later SF to be like typing on a trampoline, I'm afraid this is not much better. How Olympia got away with it is beyond me - and one knows they are capable of better, given the rapid action of the SM-3/4 and the reputation of the SM-8/9. For all that it is well made and so forth, they could have designed the mechanism better.

This week's typosphere meme is documenting repair shops/ typewriter dealers as seen on old stickers affixed to the typewriters. Here is my entry for today. It appears this Olympia Splendid 66 was originally purchased in the Bueromaschinen (office machines) shop of Mr. Romeo Cassani in Basel. The funny thing is that Signor Cassani is very much alive and well according to the address book, and his office machines shop still exists, although they have moved from Theaterstrasse. I shall leave it to our Basel-bound typospherian to provide more details...


  1. The more I see these (and especially your ace photos) the more I'd really like one. Have missed out through price, fear of freight damage and self-denial. Most recent near miss was a cursive - so I'm still a cursive virgin. One day....that last photo just screams 'build quality'.

  2. I've sort of been put off Oly Socialites thanks to Tori's "Blair", her '66 Socialite. It's one of the worst actions I've ever had the displeasure of typing on. Mushy yet somehow *hard*, and the resultant type is light and broken up, even with a new ribbon. Probably needs a new platen, but still, the action is just unpleasant to me. Nice lookers, tho. (:

  3. This is probably obvious to most typewriter aficionados, but I'm good at stating the obvious:

    There are such parallels between cars and typewriters; their designs are so evocative of the eras in which they were made. The design of this Olympia, with its rather sleek, yet blocky look -- does so hearken back to the 1960s.

  4. Adwoa, noooooo to spray paint! This Olympia Splendid has an understated beauty, I like it a lot!

    The binoculars photo is a nice touch.

  5. There you go... amazing continuity in Basel's office machines business - I will have a look on next occasion. The major Hermes distributor in town is also still in business, and even at the same location.

  6. ps: I love the binocular photo!

  7. I have an Olympia SF with a beautiful golden marble finish--never seen anything like it before. Along with my Rocket and SM-3, it is my favorite machine to type on. Also has my favorite font by far, though I'm not sure what font it is. 12 characters per inch.

  8. I have an Olympia Splendid 99 in "onyx" that types in script. It's wonderful for writing letters, poems, ... but as the (above) comments state, it does have shortcomings.


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