I have some messy hobbies that junk up the house, and one of them is amateur typewriter repair. Some people garden or crochet, but I enjoy the sweet thrill of finding the fix that makes a broken typewriter sing again. I try not to collect typewriters, but a few have worked their way into my heart.
Olivetti Lettera 22
High Quality Analog Leisure – The Return of the Olivetti Lettera
Last week I got a desperate “help needed” text message from J. As you might recall from a previous post, J. is a typewriter enthusiast who lives in Northern Virginia. She teaches 4th grade art and has begun integrating typewriters into her classroom. I had fixed up a rusty Underwood-Olivetti Lettera 22 for her and she has been using it for journalling. It has become her most favored typewriter because of its touch and light weight. Unfortunately, the drawstring snapped last week and she was devastated.
Lettera Send Off + Lettera Tune Up
The blue 1960 Craigslist Lettera is a pretty happy typewriter now. It types nicely, very respectably. Cosmetically, though, it’s still in rough shape. I’d like to issue a formal apology to all birds – especially pigeons. What appeared to be bird poop on the Craigslist Lettera is probably oxidation (Bill M and T. Munk pointed that out in the post comments). And that stuff does not come off. The Lettera still looks like this:
Old Lettera, New Lettera
I returned to Virginia with an hankering for a broken typewriter to clean and fix. Cleaning my sisters’ Quiet-Riter and Royal Administrator had whetted my appetite. I have a type: the junkier and more dysfunctional the typewriter, the better. They provide me with hours of fun (and gentle, comic frustration). Hey, there’s a meme for my taste in typewriters – albeit one that played out in 2017: