Friday, September 6, 2013

Finally joining the typosphere

While this blog primarily focuses on the furniture and smalls that find their way into my home, I do have several other sub-collections within the overarching Mid-Century Modern theme which I've never really discussed in great detail.  One of those would be my growing roster of 1940's to 1970's typewriters.  If I include both my "workhorse" and "play" machines, the count now stands at 9, so it's a pretty substantial, if not particularly exclusive, collection.  So, I've decided that a few of them needed to make their debut. 

This little guy was adopted the weekend before last.  Care to guess what's inside?

If you guessed an Olivetti Lettera 22, you'd be correct.

I was absolutely ecstatic when I brought this home at such a great price (1/2 off sale at a Kenrick Antique Mall booth!) because it is, in my opinion, the most gorgeous typewriter ever produced (with its non-portable stablemate, the Studio 44 a close second). 

There are machines out there that exhibit better craftsmanship, are more intricate, and use higher-end materials, but the minimalist design of Marcello Nizzoli really speaks to me.  I'm not the only one either, as the Illinois Institute of Technology named the Lettera 22 the best product design of the last 100 years 10 years after its 1949 release and it took the coveted Compasso d'oro prize in 1954.

I apologize for the photo overload here.  I just love it that much!

This is an earlier "made in Italy" version as well.  Interestingly, it was also sold by a dealer in Hawaii, which lends it a cool mid-century tiki vibe.

What a beaut', right?

Among the many others to express their shared love for the little Olivetti is one of my favorite singer/songwriters (and all-around cool guy), Leonard Cohen.  To my surprise, he goes into great detail about the typewriter in many of his interviews.


Now it's time to decide which to bring out next.


  1. Great choice! Joining the typosphere means typecasting, I'm looking forward to your first.

    1. Unfortunately, this Lettera 22 needs some love before I can put anything to paper. Should have one up with my next post.

  2. I have that exact same typewriter! I found it at the thrift shop for $5 a while ago, and it sits happily in my study/dining room. Can you get new ribbons for them? I would love to actually use it.

    1. Hey Deb. Good find there.

      Both Amazon and Ebay have a solid selection of ribbons for vintage typewriters.

      Here's the first one that came up. You may be able to find it cheaper if you look around.