Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Olympia SF with a New Skin

I spotted this great looking Olympia SF on Etsy.  I think the machine looks really nice like this.  Certainly a script SF is rarer than a standard version, but this seems a great way to keep a machine relevant.  I know either of my girls would jam on this new skin.


What do you think?  Art or sacrilege?

I have at least one typewriter that is destined for a nice pearl metallic rattle can repaint.  However, I don't expect that to be the norm in our house.  It certainly would not happen to the pre-1940s machines.


  1. Wow, very nice! I agree that this is a great way to keep the machine relevant in this day and age; I think it looks absolutely fantastic, especially since they managed to keep the Olympia badge as well.

    I wouldn't hesitate to paint any machine - even pre-1940s - provided that the original finish is in rather poor condition. Last year we sprayed a Hermes Baby and an Olivetti Lettera 35 red, and we are thinking of doing the same this year to a Remington portable as soon as we can find the time. It's such a fun project and really worth it.

    I just love the treatment applied to the Etsy SF, though - I wonder where I can find something like it; I have a Traveller de Luxe (also shown in that shop) that might warrant some spicing up in due course. The prices he's asking, though... yikes.

  2. I like this, especially with that design, but I wouldn't do it do any typewriter myself. Except the original paint is really, really gone.
    That modded Olympia is an interesting item, though.

  3. I like the CONCEPT of adding a new design to the shell of a typewriter which may benefit from it (paint or finish in poor condition etc.), but I don't happen to care much for this particular one.

    Perhaps it looks better "in person". It's just a bit too busy for me.

    I have a de-badged Olivetti which could benefit from a new paint job. I think the shell would look better different from its original off-white color, because the labels are missing.

  4. I think painting works for some machines (e.g. those that really need it!). But I share Cameron's opinion that there's too much going on here. It's like a machine doing a Lady Gaga impression LOL!

  5. Yes, it's busy and distracting, but the general idea of a typewriter "skin" is pretty cool. You've probably already seen kasbahmod.com, where they have typewriters painted in the style of Keith Haring et al., as well as chrome-, gold-, and copper-plated typewriters.

  6. It would appear that this small sampling is OK with mods, especially if the machine is scuffed up to begin with.

    As for the mods themselves, as much as I like the way that typewriter looks in photos, I can imagine it being a bit overwhelming in person. It's like Nitro: meant for short bursts.

    On the other hand, I can totally see my younger daughter whipping out something a little over the top at church or school and loving the reaction. The average laptop is pretty dull and the contrast would be nice. I enjoy seeing the robot fanatic's programming machines covered in technology company and Star Trek logos.

    Claire probably won't find this comment...shhhhh!!! She is getting an Olympia Socialite for Christmas :-) Now I have to decide whether to leave it in the beigeish off white or give it the rattle can treatment.

    The wrap concept is really cool and provides a lot of control. As someone who re-purposes bits of vintage technology it would be hypocritical for me to diss the mods. The emergence of modern maker culture is a good thing as long as it is channeled (as in not taking apart every machine that comes along for jewelery).

    And dang, my grey on grey Royal Futura needs a paint job in a bad way. Bonus: I'm getting a second one from Philophothought with the Windsor type face. It probably won't stay Borg grey, either.

  7. I think it looks great! It's different of all the other simple and plain typewriters. Nowadays people personalize everything... The cellphone, the laptop... Why shouldn't we do the same to our typewriters?

  8. I think the pattern is appropriate to the subject. (My wife has that skin on her little netbook.)

    I think some of the other models they've done that to (see the rest of the seller's items) may be better suited for that sort of dressing up. Notably the later more boxy design of the little Olympia portable.

  9. I just wanted to thank you for the mention on your blog. Overall, the response seems positive so that's nice to know.

    A few of your posters hit the nail on the head: the skin is a way to make the typewriter relevant to the current generation. Even if someone opts to just "browse" the machine, they may be inclined to shop for another. Ultimately, the skinned typewriters perpetuate the dialogue.

    I like the idea of the skin because the original integrity of the typewriter isn't compromised. Some typewriters aren't pretty today but may gain adoration in the years & decades to come. Think about it, no one thought the crinkle-finished Coronas of the 1940s were anything attractive through the followings decades. However, in recent years they've become extremely desirable. What if, when they weren't so desirable, they were all modified permanently?

    Personally, I love everything about typewriters. In particular the post WWII machines (maybe it's a generational thing). Don't get me wrong, I love early Postals, Williams and Salters, too. Though just a little less.

    Again, thank you for the post. It was fun reading the comments.

  10. Thanks! I'm glad you found this series of comments. It was a fun discussion.

    The ebb and flow of style is interesting. The glossy machines seem to get the most attention on ebay. Now that I have cleaned several crinkle finish machines I have a better appreciation for them. Who knows what people will love five years from now?

    Keep up the good work! The more people that fall in love with analog technology, the better.


Dang. My blog was hit by Spam comments. Comment moderation has been turned on for some time yet to be determined.