Sunday, November 26, 2017

Olivetti Typewriters for the Type-In, Red Lettera 22 and others

The first Lettera 22 I received.  It is the red Italian one.   Outwardly it looks the same before and after cleaning.

One cannot (well, yes I could, but I need to plug one of Ted Munk's excellent manuals) start work on a Lettera 22 without the manual.

This is getting ready to remove the cover from the Lettera 22.  No need to remove the bottom plate. In fact not removing the plate before removing the covers, and putting the plate back on before replacing the covers makes cover removal and reinstallation easier.

When I bought the Lettera 22 the type bar rest pad was loose and laying in the machine.

I cleaned all the old adhesive residue from the mounting channel and used printer's cement (rubber cement will work) to remount the leather pad.

A bit out of place, but this is the pad before reinstalling it.

I need practice to be able to use this keyboard whether or not I use the 2-finger method or not. It is much more difficult to use than I thought it would be.

The 1938 Universal.  No case and a very difficult sticking T type bar.  The T wanted to hang in the type bar guide yet looked like it was properly shaped when compared to all the others.  After hours of honing it and tweaking, I think I finally have it working. As with all the other Underwood typewriters I ever used, this one is a superb typer and nothing was done to it yet except to get the T working.  This is the third Universal that crossed my bench and all were excellent typewriters.

A bit of color shift from the LED lighting in my shop.  This is the taupe Lettera 22 being readied for a cleaning.

Reminds me of an SM 3 or SM4.  The rubber mounting washers for the cover were all deteriorated.  These are actually small rubber gaskets that I had plenty of from working on radios.

Note again, to remove the cover the platen must be fully left as far as it will travel.  The same to replace it.

After cleaning the type slugs and blowing the dirt out of it.  This typewriter typed great and did not require any other cleaning besides cleaning the very dirty type slugs.

Not perfectly clean, but much cleaner than when I started to clean them.
This one is now ready for next Saturday's Type-In.

Here are the Universal and Clipper awaiting repair along with a script H3k I hope to finish for Saturday.

Another superbly fun to use typewriter.  Every time I use an Underwood the only thoughts that come to mind is loads the paper perfectly straight the first time and every time, and nothing beats an Underwood for great typing,  Speedy, Snappy, Fast, Dependable.  Even my No, 3 is a joy to use.

And a preview of my digial imaging hardware. Yes, that is a Panasonic lens on the OMD.  Nice thing about the micro four third format is the lenses are not camera manufacturer body specific and I can still use my 35mm lenses!

Both of these are fun to use for what they are.  I'm still learning, but I'll take my 35mm, medium, and large format cameras and real film over digital imaging for quality any day.


  1. I enjoyed this. More lengthy typecasts with lots of images are fun.

    I once had three Olivetti L22s but they all had nagging escapement issues - it's buried deep in the machine, hard to access without removing the carriage.

    I've been enjoying micro four thirds since 2008 and the first camera, the Panasonic G1. Just ordered an Intrepid 4x5 to augment my Speed Graphic, looking forward to its arrival from across the pond.

    Thanks again for the post. Keep typing. The more you do, the better you get.

    1. Joe,
      That Intrepid should be a fun camera to use. Closest I have to that is my old Eastman View-II although I do have a B & J 4x5 press camera that replaced my Speed Graphic.

  2. L22's seem to be either super-snappy (rarely) or super-mooshy (usually). The one I have now is a bit of a basket case due to some ancient drop damage, but it's closer to snappy than mushy, so I continue to tinker with it. (:
    Hey, that's a nice tool case background for that sleek and shiny book! :D

    1. also, congrats on the incoming job offer flood. It's sweet to have good choices :D

    2. Ted,
      I really can't say I dislike the Letteras or that I like them. Kind of like a Valetine I used, unique.

  3. It reminded of the Lettera 32 I had long ago...

    I haver never owned a classic Underwood... The best machine I know is the Olympia SG 3... But I'd love to try an Underwood 5... Of course, after finding a functional one. xD

    1. Joshua,
      I hope you can find an Underwood. I think you'd like it. We all have our preferences though. I know some people who like other brands better than Underwood.

    2. As far as I know, an Underwood 5 is at least 80 years old...
      The less ancient Underwoods I know look exactly like Olivetties. :(

  4. I reckon you should take the red Italian job to the type-in Bill, it's snazzy 😀 How very cool re all the job offers, nice to be able to choose which one suits best. I can't imagine using film again, digital is too instantly convenient. Also still loving my Olympus OMD, so light compared to my old Pentax DSLR! Good luck at the type-in on the 3rd ☺

    1. Grace,
      The red one is unique in several ways. I will probably take it.
      One day I may like digital imaging as much as film photography, but I doubt it. I do really like my OMD. I never understood why a DSLR needs to weigh as much as my 4 x 5 view camera instead of a real 35mm SLR.

    2. I wish I could use again my Kodak (Ektralite 500) camera. It uses a film very hard to find (110), although it has a very rare "automatic flash". And, although there were films for my camera, there's no places in my country (Mexico) where the film can be revealed. :(