Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Optima Elite Typewriter (1950s), Elite Imperial Typeface

The Optima Elite was never on my radar as a must-have, but now that I have tried it out, I would say it stands up pretty well to its closest cousin, the Olympia SM-4 (both of them have the tab keys on either side of the space bar).  

One of the first things I did after bringing this home was to trawl the typosphere for stories of others' experiences with their Optima Elites. However, it's not the most popular machine out there, so there wasn't very much to read. Dwayne F. has one, and Richard painted his a fiery red last year. 

I decided to contribute to the wealth of knowledge out there by putting up a lot of pictures! Here, a close look at the Optima logo.

Even rarer than documentation of Optima typewriters is any in-depth discussion of the different typestyle options. I can confidently say I know they came in pica, script (an auction I saw last year), bulletin (another auction on eBay), and now elite Imperial.

The position of the carriage lock (underneath the machine) reminds me of Triumph/ Adler, which employed a similar lever in their Gabriele/ J series of midsize portables.  

I think the ribbon color selector dial on the right is a nice touch!

I am guessing this is an Optima Elite (and not Super as some others were called in the States). There are no decals on the back to give any clues, like other typewriters usually have.

The green case that I thought for a moment would contain a Hermes 2000. Glad I was wrong!

(While not from Optima officially, this book of typestyles from Adler, uploaded by Ted Munk, shows the elite imperial and pica imperial typefaces.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Great Geneva Typewriter Hunt

The seller puts down the croissant he is busily munching to try to figure out what is wrong with the Facit. No luck.

Taking the ribbon cover off to examine the inner workings didn't make any difference; the carriage remained stubbornly stuck. Given that this was the only new typewriter sighted after visiting two major stomping grounds, it was clear that Geneva was not living up to its usual typewriter-hunting potential.

First glimpse of The Promised Typewriter Land: CSP's large thrift store in Meyrin.

The Adler Gabriele 35, which had a price tag of CHF 25.

Nice typeface! Looks to be the exact one on my Scheidegger Princess-Matic.

Hermes Standard 6, not really functional.

A closer look at the decal - notice anything familiar?

Hermes Baby - elite typeface, and liquid paper painted onto the keys...

The Optima! It's seen better days, but I love the print typeface so I shall overlook its shortcomings. (The electric Brother is in the background.)

A "sky blue" Studio 44, as Florian calls it. Nice, but someone mistreated the carriage return lever and it was a tad shaky.

Continental with broken drawband, which typed reasonably well as long as I held on to the left platen knob and pulled it along. However, we didn't want to risk being unable to carry out the needed surgery.

Orange Olympia Traveller de Luxe. How pretty!

The trolley waits for the tram, laden with an Optima and a Triumph Tippa. A great time was had by all :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Typecast: Orientation

* * *Typecast courtesy of a Smith Corona Skyriter - to be featured shortly!* * *

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Typecast: In Defense of the Hermes 3000 Typewriter

 Traveling with the Hermes Baby - Louis Vuitton ad courtesy of shordzi.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Typewriter Sightings: Making The Usual Rounds

The first sighting last week was this rather unappealing Hermes 3000...

Which was followed by an almost identical one (except this was a Media 3)...

And yet another, a few feet away. It was really quite odd! But there were a couple of other machines too...

A '40s Hermes Baby with French AZERTY keyboard,

This beautifully-bulbous Remington Quiet-Riter,

And just when we thought we'd seen everything, this Underwood standard with an extra-long carriage.

This Erika 5 Tab has just appeared at a local thrift store, and seems to be in rather nice shape. Pity I have a couple of Erikas already, one of which is almost identical.

This week, we came upon this absolutely gorgeous Triumph, with an international QWERTY keyboard. I keep peering at the type slugs to see if an unusual typeface will give me a good excuse to make a purchase, but this was ordinary pica. Sigh. Hopefully it will still be there next week?

The same seller was offering this Mignon Index Typewriter, with a print-out from Richard's site (translated into French) rolled around the platen to demonstrate the value of the machine. How amusing!

The other thrift store in town had a couple of machines I'd already seen, and this was the newcomer: a Triumph Tippa with techno pica typeface.

And... that just about wraps things up. Now we'll just have to wait and see what shows up next Saturday :)
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