Posted on December 18, 2014
Who could doubt the design credentials of a typewriter that is one of a collection of Architecture and Design objects curated at the Museum of Modern Art in New York?
Nice of the Olivetti Corporation to donate it to the museum. I had to buy mine. In fact I had to sell two typewriters to pay for it …
If Ton’s Lexicon 80 was The Holy Grail, then this would have to be The Holy Trinity …
Lettera 22, Studio 44, Lexicon 80
The Studio 44 and the Lexicon 80 were made in Ivrea, whereas the Lettera 22 was made in Glasgow. The Lettera 22 and the Studio 44 are (probably) products of the 1950s, whereas the Lexicon 80 (Serial No. 80499) is probably a product of the previous decade (1948).
I’d been watching this Lexicon 80 on Gumtree for an agonising 3 weeks, waiting for the price to come down from $275. Eventually the price went down to a more reasonable “$150 negotiable” and I managed to haggle the owner down to $120, which while not exactly being a bargain, was a price I was prepared to pay (obviously) for a Lexicon 80 in good cosmetic condition – the only blemishes being some minor dings on the rear corners of the carriage and a few spots of surface rust here and there on the chrome work.
Despite years of neglect this typewriter still types beautifully. Thankfully, Rob Bowker at Typewriter Heaven has provided a step-by-step on how to strip down a Lexicon 80 for cleaning so that should be a breeze.
The defining characteristics of the earlier Lexicon 80s (I am a bit puzzled by the distinction between “Lexikon 80” and “Lexikon” on the TWDB) seem to be an embossed “Olivetti” logo on the paper plate, metal rollers rather than rubber rollers on the paper bail, and rounded rather than square tab keys on the top row of keys.
Another recent but less expensive Olivetti purchase ($6 plus $4 postage) was this 1972 Xmas postage stamp – the latest addition to my collection of typewriter-related and writer-related postal covers and stamps …
“Regaliamoci una Olivetti Portatile”
The gist of the translation is something along the lines of “make someone the gift of an Olivetti portable this Xmas”. Sounds like a good idea to me, but why stop at a portable!