Showing posts with label Lexikon 80. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lexikon 80. Show all posts

Friday, April 19, 2013

How green is the Olivetti Lexikon 80?

Just how green is our Olivetti Lexikon 80? Let's ask the experts!

Most Green Experts Agree: "So pretty!"

 A few weeks ago I received a functional Lexikon 80 purchased through ebay. The fact that it worked is a testament to sound engineering and design. It was covered in the all-too-familiar sludge patina of old nicotine, dried lube and fine dust. Over the years, the dull, gray body shell had been cleaned aggressively. The color was none too attractive to begin with and was only made worse for wear by embedded dirt and fine scratches.

The machine as shown on ebay. You'll have to imagine the sticky nicotine and oil film. The end of the carriage draw band came undone during shipping.
Why did I buy this ugly machine? I've been watching Lexikon 80s for close to a year and have only seen five listed on ebay. Of the two others confirmed as functional, one was pickup only and another had an extra wide carriage. One entertaining listing showed a Lexikon with a two+ foot or so carriage covered in rust with no hood. I saw one come and go on etsy priced at several hundred dollars. This beast was $49 plus shipping.

 Obviously, this machine needed a makeover. I looked at the rattle-can paint available at several local auto supply stores and was unimpressed. Ultimately, I picked a color available at a local hardware store. It is vaguely reminiscent of an Olivetti color. We think it looks nice enough to live indoors. As for the shade of green, we asked the experts to weigh in on our redecorated machine.

Little Godzilla approves of the keyboard feel. "Light and snappy!", he says.

Shogun Godzilla and the Attacking Martian find this shade to be appealing.
Getting color balance right can be tricky when shooting green objects. One of the images I posted on Google+ was trippy acid green. In some light it looks darker. If I were less lazy I would break out camera manuals and figure out how to balance against a gray card. Maybe someday.

The infamous Google+ introduction. I took this with an early iPhone in my garage under fluorescent lighting. The extreme does make an impression.

We could compare the Lexikon with another green typewriter. How about Keylime, our Duotone Royal?

I just spent a week running off an iPad and iPhone. Forgive the typos, etc.

Other Lexikon 80 posts from the Typosphere:

And two Graphika machines:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Olivetti Lexikon 80 Production Lines

I ran across some images of the various production lines for the Lexikon 80 and thought I should share them with the Typosphere. Go to the host website for the Ivrea plant image below and you can zoom for detail.

Source (in Italian):

And some Lexikon 80s running down conveyors in various degrees of completion:
 This image came from the same website. Find what looks like a search window and plug in "Lexikon" for more gems!

With the right Italian search phrase, more results start coming in through a Google search. This appears to be a final quality control and adjustment step in Brazil.
Flip through the Fotogallerie for more images from this production facility. They were very proud of the architectural details. I wonder if this building still exists?

Did you know Olivettis could fly? I suppose it would help if I read Italian. This production line image comes from a wonderful group showing the diversity of Olivetti's range of products being manufactured.

And here is a low resolution image of the body shells being mated with the rest of the machine:

Thank goodness for the Internet! I didn't expect to find much about making these fine machines, but the search turned up all kinds of interesting tidbits. For example, here is the beast itself from another great collection of product images. Sure looks like Kodachrome to me.

Also, I have a semi-rhetorical question for the Typosphere. Let's say one were to acquire a grubby Lexikon 80 in the least appealing shade of light gray. While it would be possible to strip off layers of nicotine and polish and wax the machine, would it be a Cardinal Typeratti Sin to consider painting it in another Olivetti shade or strip it to bare aluminum and polish it?

Feel free to post your opinions or throw rocks at me in the comments. They are moderated, but other than spam it all gets through.