The Leprechaun: a Wee O’Lympia SM4

I looked at the calendar today and good gravy, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day!  The wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’ – I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow.

I recently brought home a wee leprechaun, a green Olympia SM4.  It’s one of Moe’s.  Per Moe: it is broken and not typing and could I fix it for her friend’s daughter?

I brought the Olympia home and sat it on the kitchen counter work bench.

This SM4 looks just like an Olympia SM3 – the difference is the tab setting and clearing keys on either side of the space bar:

Random question of the day: what happened to the Olympia SM6?  Did it ever exist? If not, why did Olympia skip from SM5 to SM7?  Is it sort of a Windows 9 situation?

Back to business. Here’s the broken typewriter that doesn’t type:

From the Wisdom of Blender:

If the typewriter types not, check ye the stencil setting.



Its only other problem was that the tab “set” key next to the spacebar was depressed and nonfunctional.

I pondered this a bit and considered investigating around back to figure out why the tabbing mechanism wasn’t getting triggered.  I thought the better of it since this wasn’t my typewriter and lack of tabs wasn’t going to impair its functionality in a deal-breaking way. I am sort of “Meh” on tabs anyway – to me they are not mission-critical.  If I were typing spreadsheets, I’d be helpless without tabs, but this Olympia here will probably spend the rest of its life typing love letters and thank you notes.

I actually have a reference manual on hand: The Olympia SM 1,2,3,4,5, and 7 Typewriter Repair Bible.

This is holy writ compiled by Rev. T. Munk and recently published.  He has a whole slew of repair manuals including The Manual Typewriter Repair Bible.

A couple of them have arrived at my house:

I’ve already gotten the Olympia manual all dirty.

These are spiral bound and lay flat while I am working. I like that.

They are a compilation of repair, adjustments, parts and tools manuals as well as odds and ends like this:

Maybe I should get an asbestos board for the kitchen counter.

I particularly love the manuals’ type and special characters sections. Here’s a pleasantly confusing mashup typeface I’d like to own:

I also want to find a typewriter with a Volkswagen symbol and horsepower symbol (who knew it looked just like the Hewlett-Packard’s logo?):

Spring has sprung.  I took the wee green sprite out in the garden:

Though it doesn’t get very cold here in California, there is a definite change in the air here when spring hits.  I found a beautiful old Irish poem about spring ( “errach”) from the Book of Leinster, and in honor of St. Paddy’s Day, the Olympia typed it out. My Middle Irish is a bit rusty, but I do like this translation.

I imagine that this is how someone in 12th century Ireland (or Buffalo) would experience the transition of winter to spring.
















15 thoughts on “The Leprechaun: a Wee O’Lympia SM4

  1. Bill M says:

    Beautiful SM4. I really like using the SM3 and SM4. Wonderful works of engineering. I’ve had several pass across my workbench and they all out perform all the SM7s I’d come across. Those books from Ted are absolutely indispensable.


  2. yeah, I’ve been hoping the Thrift Gods put a chocolate mint SM3 in a hammertone silver bat-case in my path in the past few months. Is it so much to ask for the offerings I’ve given? 😀


  3. Margaret Sewell says:

    Hello there, love the way you treat/speak of these dear old typewriter friends! With regards to the beautiful Century 10…. l have had mine for many years and had it serviced and repaired in 2001. She is in very good condition and DOES have her paper holder and a wonderful Century and logo next to it and in bright clear colours. Just thought I would let you know that they did indeed have the paper backer and at the moment she is all wrapped up in cling wrap to protect her. Cheers and enjoyed your commentary.


    • So lucky! Century 10s are pretty hard to find – it sounds like you are a good custodian of the relic.

      My Century 10 came from a building clean-out in an old part St. Louis – I wonder what other beauties lurk in buildings in old St. Louis.


  4. Elke says:

    Hi… love your blog… just found it today… just a couple of quick questions… I have recently acquired an Eaton’s Viking Supreme (not deluxe) Mark 10, electric… it’s very similar looking to a Smith Corona…I have no caps and my equal sign key is just hanging there… I did some googling and I found nothing of immediate use (oh I bookmarked a lot… but I digress)… can you point me in the direction I need to look… I know I need to take apart the dear machine… just one catch: I want to be able to put her back together again… I’m funny that way… can you or the blender give me a hint… thank you… regards, Elke


    • Hi Elke – Congratulations on your Viking Supreme. Electric typewriters are a bit more complex than manual typewriters. I’ve played around with a couple, so my understanding of them is very limited. I had one that typed by itself:

      Post about Smith-Corona Electra 210

      All it required was a good cleaning. You may want to take the bottom plate off your Viking Supreme and take a look around. Make sure you take lots of pictures of the process to help you when it’s time to put things back together. Follow your caps keys connectors back and see if you find disconnections. It may also just be all gummed up and a thorough cleaning with mineral spirits will free the mechanism.

      Check out the friendly communities of typewriter enthusiasts on the web – perhaps a member has had your problem and can point you in the right direction:

      Antique Typewriter Collectors group on Facebook

      Yahoo Typewriters Group

      Typewriter Talk

      Good luck!


      • Elke says:

        Your Smith-Corona looks a lot like my Viking… I have started ‘repairing’ her (I believe it is a she)… found the spring unattached to the lever that is supposed to hold the ‘basket’ in place after the shift key has been engaged… the shift key itself is detached from something I have as yet to see… the +/= key is just beyond reach… so a work in progress…

        I’ll keep you updated… bought her for ten dollars as a local thrift store…


  5. Elke says:

    The Viking is now an operational machine, with the exception of the +/= key… I couldn’t get into the space to reattach the key… But I have caps…


    • I updated the Bible links – thank you for sending them along. I’ll be posting as soon as this glacially-paced cross-country move winds down. I’ve landed in Virginia and I’m waiting for my big container of belongings (and typewriters) to arrive in my driveway. I also have a new addition for the TWDB. I was dropping off outgrown clothes and unused household items a couple weeks ago at the San Mateo Goodwill and…

      Goodwill Hunting

      “For crying out loud,” I said, “I’m trying to clean out the house, not bring more home. Well, get in the car, you.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s