Sunday, 20 March 2011
Olympia SM3 Manual Typewriter
For my 50th post here at Stationery Traffic, I have decided to post a few pictures of my Olympia SM3 manual typewriter, in grey crinkle-paint finish with chrome trim. This is the one I bought for three quid from the local Lion's Christmas Fair in December 2010, and which has already served me well for a couple of projects. I have been using it to type some notes on 3x5 index cards, and have found that I can get eight or nine lines of text on each card before I run out of paper.
I guess this machine was built in the 1950s. It was certainly made for the UK market, as you can see from the GBP symbol on the 5 key. Interestingly, the keyboard has no symbol for the numbers one or zero, but it does have a few fractions, particularly fractions denominated in eighths (1/8, 3/8, 5/8, 7/8).
This machine is most definitely Used. There are various ink ribbon stains here and there, but the mechanism works quite well despite a tendency to jump forward by one space when I use the shift key. (I attribute this to user error, not a mechanical fault.) I have wondered a few times who may have owned this machine before me: perhaps an author or script-writer, or some other professional who used it for correspondance. Maybe it belonged to a student who wrote their dissertation on it, or a copy typist. I'll never know, of course.
Here's the detailed photo of the Tipp-Ex stain on the front; it's been partially filled in with ball-point pen. I thought about removing it, and started to pick it off with a fingernail, but I decided to leave it where it is, as a battle-scar on this old warhorse. It looks like a bird dropping!
Above is a closer pic of the dealer's/repairer's decal. I had assumed that Clough's Typewriters had disappeared from the Swindon business community, but I googled the name all the same. I was surprised and delighted to see that - apparently, as I have been unable to travel to Swindon to check - it's still in business. They've still got the same telephone number, though with an extra digit added at some time in the last 30 years. (Most urban telephone numbers in the UK have been six digits since the 1980s.)
Before I sign off, here's a picture of the carry-case it was supplied in. It's very sturdy and covered in two-tone grey leatherette with white piping, which wouldn't be out of place inside a Ford Anglia, though I suppose a VW Beetle would be more apt. And it's still got the key.
I'd love to take the SM3 back to Clough's for a service some time, though a more pressing need right now is to replace the ribbon....