Thursday, March 15, 2012

Plastic Fantastic: Olympia Traveller de Luxe (1970s)

Very interesting design; I wish it typed better
The case it comes in is usually the same, no matter the color - I had hoped this would be a bit more exciting than white!

- Have you used the Olympia Traveller de Luxe? What did you think? I know Deek used to have a script Traveller that he later gave away because he found it unpleasant to use, but I thought he was exaggerating because... well, how could anyone refuse a script typewriter???

Now I know better: nothing would make me keep this typewriter. After completing the typecast - a struggle, I assure you - I breathed a huge sigh of relief and said to myself, "Never again." So I don't feel too bad about foisting it onto a buyer, I rationalize that at least it is in pristine condition and would be suitable for occasional typing, or even as a children's toy. Poor kids...


Some links:

Strikethru's orange Olympia Traveller de Luxe. Now I understand why it was no big loss.
David's unboxing of his NOS Traveller. 
Hot-rodded Travellers on Etsy - anyone know what decals this seller is using and/ or how to find some? Looks like a fun experiment, even though I don't think it should raise the value of the typewriter quite as much as this seller thinks.

22 comments:

  1. Very nice looking typewriter that apparently looks nicer than it types.

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  2. A recent arrival in Typewriter Heaven is an Olympia SF. From what I can see, the guts of each machine are very similar, though my SF is less space-age, and styled more like an SM. I know what you mean about the type-feel (this phenomenon badly needs a typology), but I actually quite like it. I managed to crank out a long, 500 word letter the other day and only made one typo. Rare for me! My only complaint is that it needs suction cup feet because it tends to move around too much when typing. But that's not unique to this one. What I do like about the Traveller is the way those flat surfaces would lend themselves to decoration. Heck, pop off the decals to paint it and yours could be orange too!

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    1. Rob, I have a couple of SFs just like yours (http://genevatypewriters.blogspot.com/2011/11/photo-negatives-olympia-splendid-66.html), but they are labeled Splendid 66.

      They are fine to write with - not great, but perfectly decent. I even have the later, more angular SF in script and that one is acceptable too. This Traveller de Luxe takes everything I dislike about the trampoline feel of Olympia SFs and multiplies it by 100. It is awfully stiff and the touch control lever doesn't help any. Perhaps it just needs to be broken in by a decade or so of regular exercise, but I don't have the patience for it.

      I have found very few of my lighter typewriters will stay still while in use on a flat surface... I use a typing pad and an anti-slip mat.

      As for painting this, I think I would lose the decals as they are printed on directly. It's a good idea though and I just might, but the orange just wouldn't be the same without the cheerful white trim :)

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  3. I am the happy owner of Deek's script-writing Traveller de-Luxe. Happy because it IS a script machine, my only one. But it does type rather stiffly, so I don't use it as often as I do some of my other machines.

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    1. So that was you! :) Well, Olympia Typestyle 69 (script) is particularly fetching, so there is that. I hope your penpals will appreciate how much effort goes into the letters typed on that machine!

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    2. A page and a half and then I'm done...that is how I felt and I can type for hours on other typers. I am just glad it found a good home. I, too, believed that if it got a couple hundred hours of use, it would be broken in nicely.

      I so wanted to love it, but if I can't type on it comfortably, its got to go!

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  4. I agree, the orange version looks cooler, although I'd score this high for looks too. Too bad the feel isn't good. Maybe I missed it but why does it feeling exhausting?

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    1. Okay, just visited Strikethru, now I understand why it's "exhausting."

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    2. It's exhausting because of how stiff and unyielding the keyboard is... clenching its teeth firmly the whole time! Just doesn't want to be typed on, I suppose.

      I don't mind letting it go, though, I'm thinking of adopting Teeritz's rule of not collecting anything made after '65, thereby disqualifying this one.

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    3. I just looked over my collection and, with the Lettera 32 being an exclusion, all my typewriters younger than 1965 are ones I do not really like, so Teeritz' rule is a good approximation, indeed.

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  5. You may recall the weird Sears portable I have that resembles this body style and, from your account, the metal and poor feel as well. My Sears is a Silver-Seiko I think. I'm trying to give it away, but to do so I need to reinstall a ribbon.

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  6. I think you know this already- recalling your comments- I have a Traveller DeLuxe, and I love it. It's nicely broken-in, and I've consistently found it to be very responsive and precise. The shell-style case makes it great for travels. There are pictures of the machine in many of my blog essays. Here are two:
    http://laviegraphite.blogspot.com/2011/01/travellers-aid.html
    and
    http://laviegraphite.blogspot.com/2009/09/light-traveller.html

    PS- After writing on the boat in sub-zero temps (my hands were stinging from the icy air), I had to have the typewriter re-oiled!

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    1. I remember your Traveller de Luxe, Abraham, which is finely maintained by Tom Furrier! Between that and your prolific output, I am sure the Traveller is well-broken in and types nicely. You make it look fantastic in all your pictures, too! :)

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  7. I wonder if the virtually un-typed-upon Traveler Deluxe's action would improve with regular use?

    Typewriters seem to be like some musical instruments; they need to be broken in to alleviate the stiffness. Send me the Traveler and I'll break it in for you!

    ;-)

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    1. It can be arranged, Cameron, if you are serious! I have no problem sending this off to you, but shipping can be pricey and I don't know if this machine deserves that sort of investment. I have found the US to be Olympia paradise (second only to Germany), and you can find these easily, I would think. But let me know :-)

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  8. The Traveler has been in my wish list for quite a long a time. The lines and the design are absolutely fantastic.

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  9. I forgot to ask where the Traveller was manufactured. Also after reading your post I had to take out my Olympia B12 and do some typing. Needless to say my opinion of the B12 just keeps deteriorating with each use. Japanese Olympias are interesting, but cheap. I compared it with a small Brother I have (My opinion of those is not very good either), but I'll choose the small Brother before the Olympia B12.

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    1. Funny you should ask - and of course I should have mentioned it before: the Traveller, like many other late Olympias, was manufactured in Yugoslavia.

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  10. It`s a very nice typewriter. I hope one day have one like this!.

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  11. It's really too bad that the Traveler is so unpleasant to type on! The only experience I have with the Olympia brand is the SM9, and I always found it to be a marvel of German engineering — smart and snappy with not a jot of kinetic energy wasted per keystroke. But then, it is a metal-bodied machine, and nowhere near as portable as your new machine.

    It is a shame, though, that a machine even so relatively recent as that one isn't even broken in yet, especially for a machine with so singular a purpose!

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    1. I would love to try an Olympia SM-9; I have yet to even see one in the flesh, imagine that! I hear such good things about Olympias but all the ones I have are the portables and they leave much to be desired. I had an SM-3 that was awesome, but I think the SM-9's segment shift would make it even better. Don't have any space for it around here, but I'd be happy just to borrow it for a few hours. For all that it was a bestseller in the States, I have yet to find one in my neck of the woods, typewriter paradise notwithstanding.

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  12. Tell you what — make time for a trip to the States, and I'll gladly set up a temporary exchange: my SM9 for a crack at your Valentine! That's equitable, right?

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