Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Photo Negatives: Olympia Splendid 66 Typewriters (Black/White)

The funny thing about this keyboard is how many fractions it has - I would have preferred an exclamation point instead! Nevertheless, perhaps there will be some context in which this will be useful. Otherwise, this is a completely Anglophone QWERTY keyboard, in that there are no dead keys to type umlauts or accents (which one would find on an international QWERTY keyboard). That doesn't bother me!

Why this and not the Swissa? It is never easy to explain why one $10 typewriter seems a better deal than the other when both are in pristine, hardly-used condition. It's a close call, but let's say that the unusual color scheme and qwerty keyboard gave this Olympia a distinct edge. Also important is that this is a more compact typewriter and it slides in perfectly on my 38cm high bookshelves, which the Swissa would not. Besides, the chances of finding another Swissa in Switzerland are pretty high, while one does not come across a German-made and London-sold Olympia everyday.

If you look at the larger version of this picture, you can make out the label of Olympia's business in London, which is where this machine was sold. That is also interesting - the only other place I have seen black Olympia Splendids is on eBay UK, so they must have been popular there. Once upon a time, I was contemplating purchasing one of them (it had a script font, so doubly appealing), but I decided against it due to the high postage fees. Glad it turned up over here eventually!

Sadly, this one isn't script, as you can see from the macro type slugs. Still a good buy - besides, I have a script SF already so I am covered when it comes to the lovely Olympia Typestyle 69.

In contrast to the smooth flat paint of the white Splendid, this one is slightly textured, but still glossy. It's an interesting finish - not quite as overt as "hammertone", but I like the subtlety.


  1. Nice little typer you have there. It looks very clean and the finish is a bit different. Its a good size, compact. Did it come with a case?

  2. Yes, it came with the case in great condition - didn't bother to photograph it because it looks like all the SF/ Splendid cases. Just like this one.

  3. Doubly Splendid!

    You know, you could always do a G+ "hangout" if you have an Android. (I think - I know I have G+ on mine, but haven't checked if it does the hangout thing) Start your hangout when you get to the flea market and take bids from around the world on the typewriters you find :D

  4. It's a wonderful typer. In a great color and with an unusual finishing. And they look really good side by side. White Knight VS Black Knight. Mine it's not as interesting as yours. Is the common white/green color scheme.

  5. What a striking contrast (no pun intended) between the two typers. I do admit that black and white are James' & my two favorite colors!

    This reminds me to take pictures of typewriters from various angles in future posts. The Splendid 66 looks a lot more sleek and streamlined from the side as it does from the top and front. You've captured the essence of this machine in your various shots.

    I love the crinkle black finish on this one.

  6. Looks interesting, side-by-side and just inverted. If you had more of them you could distinguish them as a zebra. :)

  7. @Ted: No Android here, just iPhone... in any case it would be pretty awkward to have a video chat and look around the market at the same time; in my fantasy world I would broadcast photos and others would comment. Anyway, I don't think there are enough people in the 'sphere in my time zone to make any of this feasible :-)

  8. Very nice machines and the contrast between them both in the photo makes them all the nicer. Keep both of them.

  9. After discovering the delights of Olympia, I have had a slight hankering for a Splendid 66. Somebody, somewhere, put me off with a negative comment about its performance. How are they to type on? And I agree, we are rather over-catered for in the fractions department. Do Anglophones prefer to divide than proclaim? Your qualms made me think about Wordrebel and his collection of Catchers in the Rye. And my immediate compulsion to chase every SM3 or 4 I saw and collect nothing else from the moment I first tried one. There's a poetry in the rigour of that kind of insanity that appeals. Keep them both, look out for another :-) Thanks for sharing.

  10. Wow. I am still impressed at your flea market deals. $10? Really?

    Your new black machine is identical to the 1959 SF branded machine my daughter received for her 14th birthday. The semi-hammertone finish really is attractive.

    The machine itself is a joy to take apart and work on. The internals are very high quality. The only real problem I've had with it is the sound deadening foam being partly disintegrated and really sticky. The outer housing comes off easily and the sticky back felt from a craft store does a good job as a replacement sound buffer.

    As always, your photos are wonderful. The pair are a great combination.

  11. Splendid indeed, Adwoa! You made the right decision, congratulations for the find!

    Your black and white "photo negatives" are awesome!

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  13. If you don't want to keep the black one, I would consider buying it off of you. Seriously.

    ~Art/theanab (this is what I deleted)

    And then, I started to look up international shipping. And it burst the bubble. Nevermind.


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