Sunday, May 20, 2012

Olivetti Lettera 31

My bare-bones work space. I enjoy drinking tea and often listen to oldies on the iPod while
fiddling with the typewriters. Life is good!
Since the shell was already detached from the inner workings, that was one less step in
today's preparation for a quick cleaning.
A beautiful & idyllic spot in which to work, but heaven help me if I drop a spring or a screw!
(I did dislodge one of the springs on the key levers -- and dropped it twice! -- but found it each time.
Finally got the darn thing back on.)
Nice clean, low and utilitarian lines in profile.
Close up of the keyboard.
Barcelona: The scene of many a typewriter emerging from the factory.
Perhaps this blank slot could have accommodated a ribbon reverse lever?
...and what feature was missing here on the right side?

16 comments:

  1. Nice machine for $6 dollars, Cameron! I have a newer version of that machine, sold around here as Olivetti Lettera S, and it feels just as good as my Lettera 32.

    The missing feature you identified is the tabulator mechanism; this machine shares a good deal of parts with the Lettera 32 chassis, sans the tab key and the tab set / clear lever on the other side of the keyboard.

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    1. ... By the way, this machine has an automatic ribbon reverse feature like the one in the Lettera 32. As long as your ribbon has a rivet or a small knot tied near each end, it will push the selector to reverse it.

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  2. I like your workspace. I've had small parts go missing on carpet. I always assume the worst if they get away from me.

    You did a great job on the machine. Perhaps it will loosen up with additional use.

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  3. not as pretty as the last one, but it has style.

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  4. Very evocative of the cutting edge of 60's design. I'd consider giving this some colour personally, but that's just me. Excellent find! And excellent work.

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  5. Bland colour but clean lines. The right paint job could be the making of it. I got an equally bland beige AEG Olympia (in fact, when Anabel rang to ask whether I wanted it, she mentioned a Dora too, but I passed) and was sort of hoping, before saw it, that it would need repainting. Alas, it doesn't and the decals are printed on so it will continue life in drab mushroomy grey... for now. I wonder if these dull colours set the tone for early computer cases?

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  6. Good meditative restauration work.... I appreciate the Dora, I find the design very interesting... so not pretentious, yet clear lines, everything is in its place. The blank slot would hold the tab-setting lever on other models, which are basically identical with the Dora: see an (incomplete) overview here: http://www.typewriters.ch/collection/underwood_315.html . greetings to the woods!

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  7. Well actually, this typewriter was known as the Lettera 31, and is different from the Dora, which is a different model, but sharing the same body! The Dora had a tabulator, and all the features of a Lettera 32, but with the case of a Lettera 31 which was the classic Olivetti blue.

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  8. For 6$ sounds like a good machine. In need of repair... But a nice typewriter. I like its design. Simple and with plain. The color it's a bit dull in my opinion.

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  9. I always say, "I'm not sure I love, Love it" if I'm not sure about something. Maybe James could turn it into a planter since you don't love, Love it? :)

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  10. A beautiful place to enjoy your hobby. A drop cloth would help for any dropped pieces or a magnet with a handle for searching in the grass. I love the look of your blog, seems like I have seen it somewhere before...ha ha

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  11. just a quick note, I am adding you to my blog reading list!

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  12. One of the best things to do is clean a new acquisition. It's just a calming, relaxing thing, in my opinion. You, however, have added to the experience by doing such work out in the midst of beautiful trees. How cool is that?

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  13. yeah i just picked up one of these and with the right pace the machine is a beauty in type, i got the old case with it and now i just need to restore the sucker. I LOVE MY LETTERA 32, this thing is gonna last a thousand years haha! Im new to these machines and i am wondering how to restore a ribbon. one i got was hardly used but has dried out or something. is wd40 the universal thing or is there a better solution??

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    1. WD-40 works well for restoring ribbons -- I've been doing that for nearly a year and haven't had to buy new ribbons. Yet! Getting close, though...

      You've given me a good idea for a video on how to restore ribbons with WD-40. But meanwhile, I'll tell you briefly how to do it:

      Lay an old towel on your work surface. Rewind spool so that all the ribbon is on one of them. Remove both spools from typewriter. Spray WD-40 into a shallow bowl -- I use a lid of a jar. Dip small piece of towel in WD-40 and apply to ribbon by hand, gradually winding the ribbon to the other spool.

      Put spools back on typewriter and rewind, so that the first part of the treated ribbon is typed on first. By the way, I apply the WD-40 to the side of ribbon in contact with the platen.

      This operation takes about 20 minutes.

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  14. I have the same model, but with a Spanish keyboard...xD

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