And then there are other times like the last couple of weeks, when major world events have kept me glued to my little screen, refreshing my news feed and the websites of major news outlets. First there was that hubbub about the "last typewriter factory" closing, which was mildly amusing. Then there was a wedding I didn't know I cared about, but ended up following keenly and even getting misty-eyed at parts. That was the best part. And now... well, this. Still, I've been meaning to post this little beauty for a while, so here we are. Besides, my post coincides neatly with Robert Messenger's celebration of Olivetti's hundred year anniversary!
But I had to make a quick decision: the shop was closing when I walked in, and the assistants were already turning out the lights. I didn't want to leave, decide later that I wanted to give Habiba here another shot, and have to come all the way back to look for her (and find her gone, even worse). Besides, at the very least I thought it would make for a fun blog post, including a comparison of Habiba with our regular L32 pictured above (which we had also found unusual and worth acquiring because of the 'rare' qwerty keyboard). Afterwards, I could always contemplate giving Habiba away, like the Everest K2.
In terms of mechanism, the differences are obvious in use, and you can refer to Richard's post on his own Arabic typewriters to see some of his discoveries with his Erika 10 and Olympia SM-5 Arabic typewriters.
Conclusion: For ten bucks, I really have no complaints about this lucky discovery! It was fun to play with it, type some gibberish, and discover the mechanical modifications Olivetti included to make this suitable for Arabic speakers. I have a few ideas about who I could give this to - including a friend who learned to read and speak Arabic many years ago and visits Lebanon every year. I hope he will be amused! We'll see.