Saturday, August 3, 2013

Best Holiday Souvenir Ever: Olivetti Lettera 22 - Italic Typeface



It looks fairly ordinary, doesn't it, until you pop the hood...


The Lettera 22 with the fabric souvenir obtained on the same day. 

The type slugs could use a bit of cleaning, but the grime did not conceal the loveliness lurking underneath.


The "s" in "jumps" got jumbled up after it turned out the carriage lock was still on. 

Just in case you are ever in the neighborhood and need directions - let me know what you find!

What a lovely find - and Italian-made, too. So far, I haven't come across other Italian-made Lettera 22s with intriguing typefaces, but knowing it is a possibility is rather thrilling!

26 comments:

  1. Olivetti, eh? Of course, I had to be the first to comment!

    That cursive typeface is quite a find, congratulations! I remember you once describing the surprise cursive discovery as an "urban legend," great to hear it's all reality for you now. And one footnote: I find the Olivetti taupe tastefully understated. Then again, I've mastered the art of Olivetti appreciation. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is my second time finding a surprise script/ cursive in three years, so I guess I can begrudgingly acknowledge they are out there, but I still contend they are much harder to find in my part of the world than in yours! I thought you might appreciate this unusual Olivetti, so thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete
  2. Wow! That's a find indeed -- it's nice to see a find like this can break through your another-machine resistance. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, for a find like this I was not about to insist on my moratorium! If push comes to shove, there are many non-interesting typefaces languishing about that would be sacrificed first - but thankfully this little gem doesn't take up much room and it was an easy decision to bring her back with us.

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on successful typewriter hunting! The Lettera is fantastic. I love that type face. I think yours may be one of two that I have seen in the Typosphere. Closest I have is not nearly as nice. Royal Signet -- all upper case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bill! Now I am combing the Typosphere looking for other instances of italic typefaces - they really are not all that common (compared to script) and I feel so fortunate to have found one! I do love the all caps typeface on your Royal Signet too and would jump at the chance to have one - never seen one of those in the wild!

      Delete
  4. That is a very readable italic, and I enjoyed your thrift shop story. So much so, that the thrift shop visit I was toying with this morning has firmed up.

    I have one script machine (http://typewriterdatabase.com/1970-olivetti-studio-45.1304.typewriter), actually probably what you describe as "loopy cursive", which has such a distinctly feminine look that I feel like my elderly male self is being blended with the Reese Witherspoon character in "Legally Blonde". But the pleasure emanating from your find of an unusual typeface my cause me to pull out the machine - a lovely Olivetti Studio 45 - and produce a letter with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Tony! Glad you enjoyed my post and you have been inspired to go thrifting as a result - my own visits are not always productive (in fact considering how often I go they are rarely that interesting), but every once in a while a fantastic treasure turns up and reminds me why it is all worth it.

      Your Studio 45 is lovely and has a pretty script font - I have a similar one on an Adler Tippa myself. The Smith Corona typeface that I described as "loopy" is used in this post: http://www.retrotechgeneva.com/2012/06/when-peter-came-to-town.html

      You will quickly see why some find it difficult to read! I love it, though.

      Delete
  5. Very pretty typeface! I love the ƒ.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Quite a find, both the typewriter and the fabric! Both look fantastic. I saw a Lettera 22 with cursive type on sale locally the other day, but alas, the price was a tad too stiff. But it might make me reconsider my idea of limiting the collection exclusivelly to Remington and IBM machines...

    ... yeah, that sounds like an excuse to keep the Olivettis too...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Miguel, glad you noticed the fabric too :) I would have loved to see a picture (and type sample) of the cursive Lettera 22 you found, it sounds lovely! And yes, my own rules for limiting the collection have less to do with brand than with typeface, hence my elation at the new addition :P

      Delete
  7. I think this is probably the first proper italic typeface I've ever seen outside of somebody's SM3! It looks splendid. Hopefully the unevenness can be fixed because I think italic needs a straight line more than ordinary type for ease of readability.

    I've had some interesting thrift store escapades myself. And you're sometimes very surprised with their price ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nick, indeed it's not often one lucks into a non-SM3 italic typewriter, although I once did see an Erika 5 on eBay Germany with this typeface. I think with a bit of use and oil it will turn out fine; I will have to do a follow-up typecast once I have cleaned it up a bit.

      The number one annoyance of thrift stores here seems to be that customers will rip off the price tags and try to bargain with the clerks for better prices, and most of them have a "No Tag No Sale" policy. I am glad this one did not stick to that rule! Also amusing that the two clerks would have such vastly different ideas on what a "good price" for an Olivetti is, but it worked out to my benefit so no complaints.

      Delete
  8. I'm jealous on several counts - I loved Zurich (I stayed in the Oerlikon area), and I have yet to obtain an italic machine. Several have escaped me on shopgoodwill. That first clerk sounds like Ton, extolling the virtues of the Olivetti brand. Congrats on the terrific find!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't realize you stayed in Oerlikon! We didn't see much of it as it was raining so hard when we went - not that there is so much to see, I suppose. Still, I hope you managed to locate Brockito? If not, there is always next time :)

      What other (non-SM3) italic machines have you been seeing on Goodwill? I'm curious!

      Delete
    2. Usually SM3's, but I think there was an old SCM, in a super 5 body though my memory is fuzzy. The last was over a year ago, sadly.

      Delete
  9. Yay for a delightful trip to Zurich, and the great find! Lettera 22's of any typestyle are rare finds in the wild out here, I'd snatch a taupe pica one any day. (:

    Again, wonderful hunt report, and glad you bagged a nice one :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ted! I have finally had the time to check out typewriterdatabase.com and it looks fantastic! You have put a lot of hard work into it and it shows. I hope to start contributing soon. Maybe there will one day be an option to tag (and sort by) typefaces? :)

      Delete
  10. Congratulations on that very nice 22! The typeface makes it very nice for correspondence, it just adds a little bit more 'schwung' to a letter :)
    My Remington Victor Portable has a very similar italic; that was a happy surprise find too. Is in the database :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Remington Victor Portable is lovely, Robert! Indeed, looking at it I would not guess that it had such a pretty typeface - most of the ones I have seen up for sale have been pica/ elite. Indeed, the italic is identical to my Olivetti, too. I suspect that sometime after the mid-50s, script took over in popularity and so most italic typewriters date from before that time... but this is just a hunch based on what I have observed.

      Delete
    2. It is :) When I got to the sellers house, they said they always thought it had an elegant type, but couldn't type on it right then. Did learn a bit about the machine's history though (family of first owner).

      Yes, thought the typefaces looked very alike - had me wondering if companies designed their own typefaces or perhaps bought suitable monospaced typeface from outside, from a 'foundry'?
      You may well be right about script, don't think I've seen any pre 40-ies machines with script. Fashion!

      Delete
  11. What a wonderful tale! You had me on the edge of my seat. Great post.

    CONGRATULATIONS on this excellent, rare find! You're in the letter-writing mood now, eh?

    (wink wink)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Cameron! I love sharing the story of how each typewriter comes into the collection, and this L22 has one of the better stories, I must say.

      Indeed, I will be writing some letters and yours will be on the way soon!

      Delete
  12. mcget (er, phillytyper) here:
    clicking away at a letter, but in previous posts you hinted of a move -- are you still at Rue de M, 40?
    if not please send new address to phillytyper@gmail.com and will try to patch up this already sketchy-looking envelope!

    cheers and congrats on the 22!
    -- mcget


    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, I recently purchased an Olivetti Lettera 32 and realised the typeface is in italics. This is my first typewriter so I have no knowledge on typewriters. Do you perhaps have more info about these Olivetti italic typewriters? I was actually looking for a normal typefaced typewriter (I didn't even know these exist) so I don't know if I want to keep this or not. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...