Showing posts with label typeface. Show all posts
Showing posts with label typeface. 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 ;-)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Funky Script of the Day

A new typewriter arrived yesterday and is currently on the bench for cleaning and adjustment. Would anyone care to guess the make and model? Anyone? Anyone?

Captured with a Fuji X-T1 + Pentax Macro Takumar 50mm f4 + Baveyes focal booster. Out of camera JPG

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Analog Awesome in the Mail! (And randomish things)

Today I received the most amazing bit of analog awesome in the mail with an exhortation to seek the solace of the type bar and platen. And so I did, with a recently acquired Smith Corona Silent Super. The loop script looks fabulous with NOS silk ribbon I found at an estate sale last month. First, the card:
Nerdgasm! Photography and typewriters in one bit of awesome.
Thanks to the mysterious Typospherian from the Phoenix area who inspired me to do a first run with the new ribbon. This photo is going on the pin board in my office at work.

Yep, I finally got one! It showed up BIN on ebay and had been sitting there for two days. Maybe I will get lucky on the last Holy Grail Fractur machine. Or I will win the lottery.

This blog has been sadly neglected as I post my photography on Google+. The hit counts are based on some assumptions that only Google's data geeks understand. I assume that anytime an image is clicked on that counts and perhaps being refreshed inside a community does as well. Either way, last night when a number appeared on my profile page I was just shy of 2,000,000 views. It is only a digital ghost town to those who do not post and interact.

Interestingly enough, a Polaroid connection is one of the things that has kept me busy was attending and participating on a panel at the BuildWell 2014 conference located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The keynote speaker was John Warner of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. His career as a rock star chemist started with improving process and chemistry for Polaroid.

Normally, sustainable building policy is hatched in never-ending meetings in dark and poorly ventilated conference hotel spaces. This conference was an exception to the rule.

Everything is still brown and dead in Kansas. I hate/envy Californians.
It was a whirlwind trip featuring a loud and nasty turboprop to Denver and an unexpected Japanese toy exhibit inside the San Francisco airport. I had trouble leaving and took plenty of photos with my new traveling companion, the Fujifilm X100. Here are a few samples. There are more images on my G+ collection. San Francisco 2014

Hello, spinning blade of death! United did a bait and switch and changed planes from a regional jet to 1940s turboprop technology. The view was cool, though.
Kitty exercises mind control. All shall walk like her. Obey the Kitty.

Fly the friendly skies! These carnival ride parts might be better than a United regional plane. They might be better with luggage. My bag took more abuse in one round trip than in 30+ before.

Pay no attention to the robot army. Robots are your friends. Mostly.

Me, after United delays and crap planes arriving eleven hours after leaving home in Kansas City. I will avoid United like the plague if at all possible. Live trips will be replaced with webinars and Hangouts given the sorry state of air transport in general.

Well, this entry took a couple of unanticipated twists. It was good to bring the blog back to life. I am lurking on the Typosphere. Busy is a regular state of being with two teens and work. Teen one will start the college search next year. Life just blurs along and I shoot street and candid because it makes me happy.

Thanks for reading!

Obligatory Copyright statement: The words and images here are mine and mine alone. Please share the Google love by resharing, +1s, comments and linkage. Image borrowing without attribution is stealing. Beyond digital copyright issues, I has friends among the giant robots and Kaiju. You have been warned.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Curiously Awesome Early Olivetti Lettera 22

Greetings members of the Typosphere and denizens of the Cult of Olivetti! I'm pleased to introduce our newest traveling companion. It is a Lettera 22 of a slightly different stripe.

You like the ribbon? This is one of many festive colors offered by FJA Products on their ebay store. I bought a pack of seven colors and love them all! The bright pink is on a script Olympia SM-9. My wife suggested putting on the machine most likely to be used by the Tooth Fairy.

So much spiffier looking than the inset logo.

Ted Munk, proprietor of The Typewriter Database, has commented that Olivetti serial numbers remain a mystery. This machine is S621119. What year? Anyone? Anyone?

The typeslugs were beyond filthy! This is after three cycles with mineral spirits and a toothbrush.

The color of this machine is...interesting. It is classic Olivetti. The strange thing is that it looks different under different light sources. Getting the photo color balance right is tricky. This machine is close to the original color of my Lexikon 80, the difference being that it wasn't totally covered in nicotine and cleaning scratches. Ton: Not to worry. I'm not touching the color on this delightful rarity.

I've said it before and I will say it again: I am absolute sucker for embossed paper tables. They are a totally superfluous and would have added to the cost of a machine. That is precisely what makes them desirable design details. To an extent, the embossed table is an element of industrial design from a long gone era. Its like the logo embedded in the back an iPad. I am not an iDevice fanboy, but I do appreciate design.

I've contemplated getting a L22 for a year or so. This one popped up on ebay and I knew it was just what I wanted. There was even a typing sample that verified function and typeface awesomeness.

Here is the Lettera 22 with its office sized cousin, the Lexikon 80. Now that I have each model, I can see the design integration so often discussed by Ton at I dream lo-tech. The body styles resonate, but the similarities go deeper with a shrink ray being applied to carriage controls and the carriage bearing and margin stop system.


It is a happy coincidence that I happen to own machines made at almost the same time, in the same factory and with the same typeface. The Lettera 22 is a common machine having been made for decades. I'm glad I waited for just the right one come along. It will be a wonderful companion for our family summer vacation.

Experimental hashtags: I'm curious to see if these get picked up directly by Google+. Have any of you tried integrating Blogger with G+? Comment and search integration could be awesome, but I want to see how it is working for others before committing. For those of you already on Blogger, I recommend trying out G+. The hashtag functionality is helping make it less of a digital ghost town and the Communities are awesome. Having exposure increased through Google search is a plus. G+ is now number 2 in social traffic behind Facebook.

#typewriter #Olivetti #typecast #vintagetechnlogy #Lettera22

Me, on Google+ Add me to a Circle! I place fellow Typospherians in my Acquaintance category in return.

Obligatory and Probably Ignored Copyright Notice: The words and photographs on Vintage Technology Obsessions are Copyright DwayneF. They may not be used for commercial purposes without explicit, written permission of the copyright holder. Please spread the blogging and typewriter love by commenting, sharing, linking and tracking back to this blog or my G+ presence. In the vague-an-unspecified-threat department, I have a small army of giant robots and monsters at my command and I am not afraid to use them. Just saying.
My Enforcers

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Natalie's Amazing Postcard!

Back on January 31st, Natalie of natslaptaps ran a postcard contest. For a measly email, entrants would have the chance to win a genuine, built-by-hand postcard featuring her new "loopy script" Olivetti, Coraline. Unfortunately for Natalie, and fortunately for me, no one was paying attention and I won a postcard!

But people of the Typosphere, let it be known that Natalie does not do run-of-the-mill postcards. Nope, not by a long shot. Behold this fabulous creation...

A photo or scan cannot do this justice. This is all hand cut and pasted paper under laminate. The script on the bottom is courtesy of Coraline.

But that is not all. Oh, no. This postcard has a backside that folds out just so with a full type sample!

Postmarked on February 8th, this bit of mail considerably improved my mood when it arrived on March 1st soon after the second Kansas City blizzard in a week. Perhaps Australian post was slow, or perhaps the envelope spent some time in the sun before traveling to less hospitable climes.

Natalie, thanks for the awesomeness! You must let me know which obscure typeface you want a sample of.  The IBM Executive lives in the open and is ready to type. It's too big to stash. There is the perky italic of the Olympia SM-3. The funky Royal script machine likes to show off. I'm very close to having an Apothecary keyboard machine in running condition. So many sumptuous choices; which one shall it be?

As for the Typosphere, the first two people to read this and reply in the comment section will win a vintage postcard with one of the interesting typefaces listed above. One catch: You must share which typewriter typeface is your personal favorite.

I don't have Natalie's artistic skills, but I have machines and I will use them. Comments are moderated, so enter early and often!

Yet another Copyright Notice: Um, this time I do not own the copyright to anything but the words in this post. The postcard, front and back, is marked Copyright by Natalie, 2013.  Show a little love for her paper craft and link back to her blog.

Monday, February 4, 2013

ITAM 2013 - A Teaser

Greetings Typosphere bloggers and honored guests!  It is time for me to make amends for not playing with the machines as much as I should.  International Typewriter Appreciation Month is upon us and it is time for a teaser.  It is riddled with typos and an extra 'm' in amends, but such is life.  Real, analog life, that is. Computer keyboards and iPad similes have ruined me.
 I'm enjoying as many ITAM blog entries as I can.  Great work, everyone!  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Typogram Received! Election Avoidance on the Blog of the Beast

It's election night.  I am a serious political junkie and need a temporary distraction.  I have interrupted my MSN, CNN, Politico, Wonkette and Twitter feeds to bring forth a wondrous Typogram received from Ryan Adney of Magic Margin!

Behold, the envelope!  Yes, Ryan used his Royal Navy "radio mill" for the envelope.  As a typeface junkie, I very much appreciate this kind gesture.

The hand drawn desert landscape reminds me of warm, sunny places.  I love the actinic  glare of the Valley of the Sun.

This great greeting card was inserted in the envelope.  What a great graphic!

The real prize was tucked inside.  This postcard is pretty much awesome. Repeat after me... we must worship the Sholes.  It is mightier than mountains and cranks out words more potent than edged weapons.  Besides, according to Robert Messenger, Mark Twain got pretty ornery about the Sholes' offspring.

Ryan, thanks for the spiffy Typogram.  Thanks also to  Anna of A Machine for the End of the World for creating The International Correspondence Initiative. 

Here is the back of the postcard, also by way of the Royal Navy mill.  Sweet.

As for my oblique reference to the "Blog of the Beast", I was referring to the page count as it appeared when I opened my Blogger dashboard:  24,666.  Given that it is election night, there is a certain irony in the fact that my pageviews are equal to the last digits of a zip code in Topeka, Kansas.  This nearby hamlet is home to our state capitol and the infamous Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church.

So, from election avoidance central, I wish you all a pleasant evening.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Found in the Wild: Olympia SM-7 with Congress Typeface

The serial number is just over 2,005,000 which should date this as a 1962 model.  Other than a hard platen, this typewriter performs flawlessly after application of PB Blaster.  Not bad for a 50-year-old machine!

The ribbon is old and will need replacement at some point as the red is really dry.  The platen is as hard as a rock.

This is the first time I have seen the "Made in Western Germany" statement so prominently displayed.
Isn't this machine pretty?  I have seen plenty of photos of the Olympia SM-7 online and honestly had not been impressed.  The in-person experience is much different.  As it turns out, the semi-random looking textured panel above the keyboard is well pressed metal and its look is mirrored in the bottom wedge paint - hammertone in a nice metallic grey.  The paint texture is similar to the 1959 Olympia SF and the Socialite that live with my girls.

The SM-7 shape is similar to the SM-9, but has more personality.  It does lack the basket shift and super-light touch that defines the SM-9.  The keys appear to have the shape of the SM-3's keys with the matte texture of the SM-9's variety.  These have a pleasant feel.

As nice as this machine looks, I would have left it behind had I not looked at the type bars.  I love the look of Modern Congress Pica.  My oldest daughter, Hannah, loves it as well and has started typing to catch up with a summer worth of activities on her blog.  As for performance, it feels the same as our SM-3 machines, also with special typefaces (Italic and Professional Elite).  The main difference is that those came from ebay and this looker was found in the wild.  That is a satisfying experience.

More typewriter porn.  I hope this helps some wayward SM-7s find good homes.  It is a machine deserving of our affection.
 Once again, thanks to Ted Munk for posting the NOMDA Blue Book Olympia Type Styles guide.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Typewriter Day from Keylime, the Vogue Royal

I hereby interrupt the vacation typecast series to bring you a greeting from the newest member of the Vintage Technology Obsessions typing stable.  Vintage Technology Obsessions will return to regularly scheduled posts after Typewriter Day.

That would be "exercise" that Keylime needed.  At least I spelled derelict right the first time.  Spell check has ruined me.

You might remember this mystery machine from the recent post on the derelict red Royal I saved from a key chopper on ebay.  It has the Vogue typeface, but is many hours of repairs away from being useful for actual typing.  I found Keylime first and happened upon old Red several weeks later.

It only took us a few minutes to determine the appropriate name for this machine.  She came from Florida and reportedly belonged to the spouse of a former president of a state university.  The color balance in these photos is pretty accurate.  This is one upbeat and perky little typewriter!  She is sweet and tart like a slice of keylime pie.

As I noted in Old Red's post, finding a Vogue Royal was an eight month obsessional journey for me.  I don't regret the search.  However, like any junkie, I have experienced a bit of a letdown having procured my fix.  Now I will happily type away until I find a Graphika or something with a fractur typeface.

As for may statement regarding interesting typewriters showing up in threes, I will provide a few examples.  All of these showed up in one to two week clusters, some have just disappeared even in common form:

Olympia SM3:  Three machines with the italic typeface and fairly clear photos.
Facit:  Three portables of various descriptions with the cursive typeface.
Royal Portable:  Three machines ranging from Futura to Safari models with the obscure cursive typeface.
Erika:  There was a week where almost ten model 5 machines appeared.  This is the week I scored an incredibly rare Erika M while no one was paying attention.  Well, that is more than three.

This typewriter had a bit of a premium attached, but it was in line with the prevailing prices of similar second generation Royal portables with average typefaces.  Having come from Florida, I was pleasantly surprised that Keylime had no funky odors (unlike Margo, the gold Royal QDL from Florida).  All I did was a basic clean and lube and here she is!  The type bars were clean prior to adding a cheap Office Max ribbon.  She really deserves an NOS silk ribbon if anyone has one available.

By the time this post goes live, the big Kansas City weekend of Maker Faire and Art of the Car will be well underway.  I am looking forward to geeking out on technology old and new.  I am not looking forward to the 100+ degree weather expected on Sunday.

With that, I will leave you with a closeup of this luscious typeface.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Royal Typewriter Rescue and Another Special Typeface

The Royal portable typewriter on the left in the photo below is a recent rescue from ebay.  I was happy to liberate it from the clutches of a key chopper (evidenced by a bid history on typewriters and craft supplies).

There is one obvious problem:  this machine is hammered.  It appears to have spent the last 50 years or so in a barn or attic with no cover.  The seller even commented that he had done an initial cleaning.  Every part that can be dried out is.  The paint is scuffed, chipped, oxidized and crazed.  At this point, you may be wondering why on earth I bought this beater.  Am I really so crazed about key choppers that I would rescue junk?

As the title implies, you will need to read on for the answer.

The typewriter on the right goes by the name of "Keylime".  She will remain a mystery until a future post.  However, a side-by-side view gives you a pretty good idea of how far gone this poor red Royal is.

Kissing cousins, as if anyone would want to kiss a derelict.

As seen below, this rescue was not entirely altruistic.  Actually, it possesses a typeface that is my one of my "white whales".  It is an obsession among obsessions.

This typeface appears to be identical to that of a Royal Aristocrat shown on the Cambridge Typewriter Company blog.  Tom Furrier identified it as "Moderne Pica Block, Ra 280" by Alfred Ransmeyer &  Albert Rodian Vereinigte Typenfabriken, Berlin.  I have reason to believe this is actually the common variation of the rare Vogue typeface available for the 1930 variation of the Royal portable.  More on that subject in a later post.

Is this Vogue by another name?

This poor machine has seen better days.  I have yet to take it apart to assess whether it can be repaired as is.  If not, the type bar assembly will become the subject of a transplant operation to another Royal.  For what it is worth, the other residents in the House Full of Nerds think it is beautiful and see its potential.  I'll give repair an honest try or perhaps combine it with another parts machine if necessary.

What do you think?  How far should I go to bring this basket case back to good health?  I am out on travel at the moment, so comment moderation will be delayed.  Rest assured, they will appear in the near future!