When I fabricated Haruki Murakami’s Olivetti typewriter in a recent post, I should have opted for a Lettera DL.

LetteraDL_Relph2

For some reason, it’s the most common European typewriter on the Japanese Yahoo auction site.

LetteraDL_spool_lever2

This one popped up on Australian Gumtree for a very reasonable $40, and only minutes away from my work address, so I snapped it up. The typewriter and the case are in excellent condition.

LetteraDL_topL

I’ve wanted one ever since I read Scott K’s titillating description of his Olivetti Lettera DL  as a “bad girl dressed in black leather” (he’s not known as The Filthy Platen for nothing). 😉

LetteraDL_Logo0

LetteraDL_rearplate1

I was interested to compare the key tops on mine with the rounded ones on Scott K’s. The squarer, flatter keys on mine are consistent with those on my Barcelona-made Lettera 32.

Letter_spacebar_bent

The Lettera 32 has the edge in terms of its typing feel and robustness of construction. However, the DL is not that much different and does benefit from a wider spacebar (even if mine is oddly bent out of shape).

LetteraDL_Leftelp0

Mine has an “Elite” typeface that by my measurements is 11.5 characters per inch.

LetteraDL_typeface

When I looked at the Lettera DL typewriters advertised on Japanese Yahoo, there were some interesting variations …

OlivettiDL_JP5

rubber paper bails, rounded key tops

LetteraDL_NamePlate5

LetteraDL_NamePlate4DL

Name badge without the Olivetti logo

OlivettiDL_JP3

LetteraDL_NamePlateWhite

White-on-Silver (damaged?) name badge

LetteraDL_NamePlateWhiteMONTAGE

OlivettiDL_REDLOGO

Ribbon cover with red Olivetti logo …

OlivettiDL_REDLOGO3

… and name badge on the paper plate instead …

OlivettiDL_REDLOGO2

DLs with Lettera 32-style key tops are the exception. I only came across two examples …

OlivettiDL_NoCover

I have a theory that the outer shells, and perhaps the rounded key-tops on some variations of these “DL” machines, were made in Japan, and that fully-assembled typewriters were then imported back as part of a reciprocal arrangement between Olivetti (Barcelona) and its Japanese supplier.

LetteraDL_frontelph

I could be wrong, of course. 🙂

 LetteraDL_BonneFetePapa70

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