Showing posts with label script. Show all posts
Showing posts with label script. Show all posts

Sunday, November 23, 2014

An Olivetti Lettera 22 with Scriptin' Style!

Greetings from the new arrival in the House Full of Nerds! Pistachio isn't just a an Olivetti 22; it has a variation of the curly script typeface that sometimes (rarely) appears on Olivetti and Smith-Corona typewriters. For Typospherians with typeface fetishes, this is one of those objects of desire. Pistachio is even one scarcer colors found on Olivetti machines in the wild.

Pistachio with a friend who has just been serviced. That Groma is one light and snappy machine! It isn't quite as hyper as an Olympia or Topedo, but it is really nice to type on. Boring typeface, though ;-)

After several years of searching and bidding in vain, I happened upon a Smith-Corona Silent Super and then this lovely machine within months of each other as Buy it Now items on ebay. Before I go any further, let's jump straight to the typeface samples. In order of appearance: Lettera 22, Silent Super, Olympia SM-9, and a Torpedo 18.

I was fortunate that Pistachio was in generally good condition and fully operable. The seller double boxed it as requested and Fed-Ex did its thing without maiming or destruction. I opened it up, lubed everything I could, washed and bleached the shell, put on a new generic ribbon on the original spools, and cleaned the type slugs with mineral spirits and a toothbrush. PB Blaster is a miracle lube, but curiously I find this Italian machine to be more responsive than the first year of production British Lettera 22. It still requires a light, fast stroke, but the strikes seem to be easier and more consistent. This is a good thing as I need to type more. So busy I have been.

Olivettis of feather, flock together!

Olivetti industrial design is so clean and seemingly uncomplicated. The details make a huge difference, however. Not having flattened rollers is kinda awesome. The rail and tab stop mechanisms are elegant works of art.

I love the view under the hood. The original ribbon spools are super cool. The outer shell took a bit of abuse sometime in the last 50+ years with the front, right screw tab broken off. Crazy glue seems to be holding it together.

Any chance of figuring out the year of manufacture in Italy?

And here it is with the kissing cousin from Glasgow.

For any of you typewriter nerds who enjoy a mystery (I'm thinking of Ted Munk, Ton, and Richard Polt), here is the Glasgow machine's serial number in all of its confounding glory. I have yet to find an image of another Lettera with an embossed paper table.

I'm sure there are more examples that I just can't remember at the moment. Tom Furrier at Cambridge Typewriter Works recently serviced a machine identical to my Smith-Corona. Natalie at natslaptaps has a beautiful coral color L22 with the exact same script.  If are having a hankering for a cursive typeface overdose, Notagain at Manual Entry has what you are looking for.

For anyone curious, all of these images were captured with my Fuji X-T1 and the native 35mm f1.4 lens. Lacking ambient light, these out of camera JPEG images pretty well nail white balance with a mix of halogen and fluorescent lighting on the work bench. My G+ stream is here.

As always, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad to be giving this blog a pulse again, but that is partly because I have been procrastinating on a Google+ photography challenge due at the end of the week. And silly me; I saw some really great toy images from people I follow and signed up for yet another challenge series. At least the hours and hours of darkness in winter are keeping me inside. There is that.

A note about Copyright: Yes, I am greedy. These are my copyrighted images and are not to be used without attribution and never in a commercial context without my express permission. Yes, this is the Interweb and anything can be copied. No, that does not make these the property of the world. Share the love and share the full post. The Interweb will be a better place for it. Be warned: I do have enforcers who will take matters into their own claws as necessary.

A member of the Brute Squad. You were warned ;-)