Friday, July 27, 2012

olivetti lettera 32 typewriter.

Many moons ago, I thrifted this vintage Oliveti typewriter from Thieves' Market at Sungei Road. After dusting it off a few days ago and with quite a bit of googling, I've determined that it is in full working condition.  The best part is the little bell that goes off when you reach the end of the line - zzzzzing! Brings you right back to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, without the incessant ringing phones.

I'm eager to give it a makeover so stay tuned for a little bit of vintage DIY!

According to wiki, the Olivetti Lettera 32 is a portable mechanical typewriter designed by Marcello Nizzoli for Olivetti in 1963, as a sucessor of the popular Olivetti Lettera 22. Even though it weighs a whopping 5.9kg, it was considered a portable machine and came with its own rather snazzy-looking striped carrying case that unfortunately was not available when I bought it.  Also missing was the dustcover & the manual.

Striped Carrying Case via The Teeritz Agenda
Operating Manual via The Teeritz Agenda

A few fun facts came up when researching about this particular Olivetti model. 

In December 2009, an Olivetti Lettera 32 purchased by Cormac McCarthy in 1963 for $50 at a Tennessee pawn shop sold at a Christie's Auction for $250,000! It was on this humble machine that Pulitzer Prize-winning McCarthy authored novels such as The Road, No Country for Old Men, Blood Meridian, and All the Pretty Horses.

Typewriters came in other languages too, like this Arabic one pictured here.
The print ads had a very modern aesthetic, with the cheeky Christmas ad reading "A present with a future".

vintage olivetti print ads via ninonbooks

Cleaning & painting it is at the top of this weekend's to-do list. Once that's done, I hope it becomes a permanent fixture in my workspace and you might soon see typewritten 'Thank You' notes for shop purchases! Or hand-typed Five Stones Vintage name cards! 


  1. What a cool find! I love the idea of hand-typed business cards!

  2. What a pretty little thing! My first typewriter was an Olivetti... First love!
    Enjoy this new toy! :)

  3. May I check where you purchased the ribbon for the typewriter?



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