These days I’m refining my collection rather than adding to it. In other words, in order to add a typewriter to my collection, I first have to sell one; that way I’ll be able to keep the collection down to a manageable size. That’s the theory anyway.


This is my third close encounter with an Olympia SM9. The other two were disguised as Colortip S machines and camouflaged in pale blue.


Here’s what I was thinking as I endured a fraught after-work drive in rush-hour traffic, winter darkness and lashing rain, through the backstreets of a Fremantle suburb I was unfamiliar with, in order to snatch a typewriter that someone else had already made an offer on:

“What the hell am I doing? I could be home by now. I have enough typewriters in my collection. Do I really need another? This is madness …”

Here’s what I thought as soon as I laid eyes on the typewriter:

“Oh yes! Now that is one quality typewriter. But why does it seem smaller than the 1970 Colortip-S (SM9) I have sitting at home? And why does it seem, in the soft light of the seller’s kitchen, as warm and inviting as a freshly-baked sourdough loaf?”

The colour and contours of the typewriter may have had something to do with it: Creamy vanilla (at least that’s my interpretation) on a soft grey crust.


The SM9 ( after I took it home)


The body shape of the pre-1969 SM9 is more rounded than the post-1969 SM9 (example shown below 1) which is slightly taller and more angular.


Smitten, I paid the money ($70) and popped the “warm loaf” in my shopping bag, and headed home feeling pleased with myself and suddenly impervious to the weather and the traffic.


Two original metal spools and a case …


This SM9 does not have the large Pica typeface I normally go for; however, much like my “new” Remington 11, it does have an attractive all-purpose (Elite No. 8 11 pitch) typeface …


The yellow tape with the dealership details on the front of the machine (and on the inside of the case) is staying put.


Not only is it part of this typewriter’s history, it adds a dash of colour to this liberated (some might say bland but I wouldn’t) office machine…


It’s already made a new friend


11968 was the year Olympia began to make subtle changes, starting with the carriage return lever.

This 1969 SM9 (a Canadian eBay sighting, serial number 3866104) has a return lever that folds down …


… whereas the lever on my 1967 machine doesn’t …


In all other respects the 1969 SM9 is the SM9 of old. Like my 1967 SM9, it still has the older body shape, the old style rectangular feet, and tab clear and set buttons on either side of the space bar (by 1970, these were replaced by a switch on the left of the keyboard where the touch control formerly was, while the touch control was moved under the ribbon cover in front of the left-hand spool. The space bar was thus, longer.)

The change in body shape is illustrated by comparing a 1968 and a 1970 Colortip-S:


The 1970 typewriter (Right) has a slightly taller and more angular ribbon cover.

The 1969 SM9 still has the same old shape and the same old feet and the same old tab clear and set keys on either side of the keyboard …




Here’s a 1970s SM9 with a much more solid base and rounded feet…


The tab clear and set keys either side of the keyboard have gone for good …