Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Little Flower Petals Tribe of Clickity-Clack

Strikethru has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged the typosphere to show their cards. Wait...that's mixing metaphors, isn't it? I hate it when I do that.

Anyhow, here's my current stable:

Shinied up Olympia SG-1
1. Sebastian, the handsome green Olympia SG-1, which I took to Blue Moon/Ace Typewriter for repair and renewal awhile back. It is the typewriter by which all other typewriters are measured. Coolest feature: that giant paper load lever. It's amazingly handy. If I've been using that typewriter a lot, I do phantom passes for the lever when loading paper into other typewriters.

Stinky the Olympia SM-9
2. Stinky, who you've all come to know rather well. He's actually pretty clean now save for some rusty spots, though still a bit whiffy up close. Although a late model SM-9 and therefore uncool even by stodgy SM-9 standards, he really types nicely.

Olympia SG3 vs SM9
3. I have another SM-9 in a spidery pica typeface, shown here with Bernard, the SG-3 I used to own. I'm just realizing I've never done a full report on this SM-9, though it was one of the first typewriters I ever purchased and, now I think on it, the longest owned of the current lot. It is, like Strikethru's SM-9, a fully refurbished model, which I think inspires a certain amount of guilt in me. It types like new, though, and took on a just a little under half the work-load during my first typed NaNoWriMo. It should be allowed out more.

Olympia SM-9 No. 3
4. Then there is the third SM-9, found recently at a local Goodwill, with an 11-pt. typeface like Stinky's. It's one I often reach for when writing letters, because I know I can depend on it. Solid, stolid and reliable, this one. It is, however, currently in the Most Likely To Be Traded/Sold/Given Away spot. I really don't need *three* SM-9s, especially two with the same typeface, and Stinky is here to stay.

SCM Galaxie Deluxe
5. My homely little Galaxie holds a special place in my heart because of its resemblance to my first-ever typewriter. And despite its decidedly unromantic appearance, it is the poet of the bunch. Until I met this typewriter, I had never composed poetry on anything with a keyboard--it was always done by hand, and then eventually transcribed. But at least once in awhile, the words just come to me when I'm banging away on the Galaxie. It also won me the typing contest at the type-in. For that, I owe it one.

Olivetti Studio temporary photo
6. And finally, there is the newcomer: the Olivetti Underwood Studio 21 that followed me home from the type-in. It has the most beautiful typeface of them all in my opinion, and is quick and quiet.  I'll get real pictures of it one of these days, when it isn't sleeting.

It has 1/4, 1/2, and even an @...but no exclamation point.  Makes me laugh.  And isn't that red heart the prettiest tab key you ever did see?
I Heart Olivetti

I still have three typewriters on my wishlist:
1. An old Hermes 3000 like the one I stupidly stupidly stupidly let go during last year's move. Preferably pica or maybe some sort of techno typeface.
2. A Lettera 32, in the same exact typeface as the Studio 21.
3. And some flavor of Royal, just 'cause the snappy action amuses me.


Tom said...

I would love to offer your spare SM-9 a new home! Should I email you?

notagain said...

nice lineup! mine's rather a moving target. I should go through and get pics too. funny how they don't all have personalities that suggest names, and some have quirks that suggest more than one name. I liked your Galaxie.

Strikethru said...

Totally enjoyed seeing your typers. Who was it said there is a plethora of Olympias in the Pacific Northwest, in general? I think they are right. I trip over SM9's constantly at Deluxe Junk.

Anonymous said...

This is not me writing but it is, instead, a subtle voice inside your head:

"I don't that big ol' SG1. It's too big and heavy and, really, not that cool. Justin up in Snohomish would gladly give up half of his collection for that thing, so maybe I should just trade it to him. Yeah, that's what I should do."

Anonymous said...

Strikethru - That is strange that there are so many Olympias here. I've told others and maybe you but I could lose all my other machines and be okay as long as I still had my SM-3. I think I will request to be buried with it.

Duffy Moon said...

I've always love that pic of the SG-1, with the morning (at least I always like to think of it as Morning Light, not Evening Light - don't correct me if I'm wrong) light coming in on it.

I also find it odd which machines choose to have the (!) key and which don't. Just going by memory, it seems to me my own SG-1 has every key known to man, but leaves off the (!). Or maybe it has the (!) but not the (1). I forget now.

Elizabeth H. said...

@Tom - "spare" seems like such a harsh word! It does get used quite a's just not one I see as definitely permanent, if the right situation to pass it on comes along. Feel free to send me a note, though, particularly if you're local. (I have a shipping jinx, as documented in some of the comments after Stinky's story.)

@Justin - your mind tricks will not work with me. I have tinfoil, and I know how to use it...

@Duffy - I think my SG-1 has the ! but no 1, but now I need to double-check. This will torment me all day. Thanks a lot, bud.

I think questions about exclamation points and the number 1 were, funnily enough, the number one question at the type-in.

Joe V said...

That Olivetti Underwood 21 is the same exact model and color that I have. Mine was found in a thrift shop in Albuquerque last year, I paid $20. The back-story of mine is the guy came to town in 1971 on a motorcycle, with the idea of becoming a writer. He traded the bike for the typewriter. Inside the case I found the original receipt for the bike-typewriter trade, plus factory owner's manual.

I suppose this means I owe Strikethru a blog post of my own about my small stable of machines.

Adwoa said...

Perhaps it has something to do with being in/near/around Olympia, Washington? I think Germany is quite close to us, yet I've never seen so many Olympias!

I have a hankering for all your SM-9s; the 11cpi typeface is so distinctively courier-like that it's different enough from pica to add to my obsessive collection.

I wish it could be found on a smaller Olympia SF too, because the last time I found an SM-8 with that style (at Retro Technica in October), it was just. so. big. *grumbles about living in a tiny apartment and having too many large typewriters already*

Anyway, I told myself it was just as well because it was of the later kind and had the orange dot and not the script logo. Now if one of those teal-and-ivory beauties pops up...

rino breebaart said...

Superb collection.

But, oh, oh! That SG-3I is the exact same model used by Philip K Dick.

That's gotta be good mojo.

Elizabeth H. said...

Just 'cause it was discussed...the SG-1 has an exclamation point, and a ton of other characters including a 1/ button for making fractions other than those it has keys for...but it does not have a 1. Interesting.

@Rino...yeah, between letting that one and the mojo Hermes 3000 go, I think I've pretty much tossed my mojo . :\ But this house really only had room for one standard. I'll just have to create my own mojo, I guess. And there's always Stinky.

@Adwoa - I'm guessing we probably did have an Olympia dealer or two here in Olympia. ;) Seems like they'd have been an easier sell here than just about anywhere!

@Joe - very cool story, as yours so often are! Makes you think, doesn't it? Here this guy traded a *motorcycle* for a single typewriter, and now some of us (not naming names) have lot.

Au Lim said...

hi! Just came upon your blog today! so nice! and i absolutely think that Olympia SG1 *is* handsome too. :-D

Michael Nagle said...

If you have any interest in swapping the SM-9 for a Royal Safari let me know. I have too many SM-9s as is but I'm always looking for another.

The SG-3 is doing fine on my desk and I use it constantly.

Elizabeth H. said...

I obtained a nice Royal Arrow not long after this post, so I think I'm all set. But thanks!

Good to hear the SG-3 is still doing well! I do love that thing. Coolest typeface ever.

Mahlon Bouldin said...

I don't understand the pic of that SM9. What is the green row above the keyboard? I've never seen that before.

Elizabeth H. said...

I think you're looking at the SG-3 (the gigantic typewriter to the left of the SM-9)? The green keys above the keyboard are for tab settings: one key sets tab stops, one clears them, and the big space-bar like button in the middle actually moves from one tab to the next in line. You could set particular tabs for columns, for example.