Sunday 7 August 2011


Linea 88 (Mrs L Wilson) giving shelter to Mr De Vito

...but only in the Schwarzenegger-De Vito sense. The G5 and iPad of their day. I mean, they both do the same thing, right? The Olivetti types very smoothly with an even touch. Now the spring-loaded margins are working and I figured out the only way to properly reinstall the carriage cover/paper table was by simply removing the bail well, there's nothing much wrong with this machine. I have spent an hour or so cleaning it but it is still grubby and ugly and it has been well enough used by someone with long fingernails for the key tops to bear some scars. I'd run out of 0000 wire wool so I cleaned the platen with a light sanding of 400 grit emery paper. Tip: dampen it a little first or you get black dust on the dining room table. The accuracy of the paper feed is such that you can confidently wind in a fresh sheet without getting the usual bent corner or having to straighten the paper before typing. 

For an ugly machine, there are some tasty style cues. Radiused and sharp right angles from every viewpoint.

The other main difference between this and a portable is the chunky quality of the carriage control surfaces. The carriage release levers are jewels of cast and polished aluminium and the return lever's profile echoes the characteristic 'wide mouth' Olivetti smile on the cover.

My Dad bought this typewriter sometime in the 80s, probably for correspondence about the church renovation project he was involved with after he retired. Or maybe he just rescued it from a fate worse than dust. So, who is Mrs L Wilson? We'll never know, but she loved her Olivetti so much, she engraved her name on it. I wonder what the L stands for. And whether she wore her nails long.


  1. Pretty cool that Mrs. L. Wilson inscribed her name on this machine! Gives it a personal touch. Indeed, it is fun to imagine the history. But as you say, we'll never know.

  2. Wow I'd like to try one of those full-size Olivettis. very nice.