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02-10-2017 14:19:45  #1


What is this character?

Take a look at the attached listing for an Olympia Splendid 33: https://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/atq/d/vintage-manual-typewriter-1960/6307872622.html

Besides being a great price, I am stumped by the lower case character to the right of the L key. Looks like 'n -- can't imagine what this would be. (For typing things like "this 'n that"?) I don't see this character in the mid-1960s Olympia catalog I have. The keyboard seems to be one with various accents, so I wonder if it's some sort of hybrid French keyboard. Ideas?

 

11-10-2017 12:41:58  #2


Re: What is this character?

Your guess is as good as mine. I don't think that it is a French keyboard though, as it has a British Pound symbol: £. Interesting, though.


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway
 

11-10-2017 12:45:09  #3


Re: What is this character?

Wait, scratch that. With the double slash (₤) it's an Italian Lira symbol. So Italian, rather than French.


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway
 

11-10-2017 13:44:28  #4


Re: What is this character?

Interesting -- but I didn't think Italian used the circumflex (^) or the umlaut (¨), which are on one of the keys. Still stumped.

     Thread Starter
 

11-10-2017 14:16:35  #5


Re: What is this character?

Fleetwing wrote:

Interesting -- but I didn't think Italian used the circumflex (^) or the umlaut (¨), which are on one of the keys. Still stumped.

Italian doesn't use the umlaut, but I know that German keyboards have a key for each vowel that has an umlaut, rather than a single umlaut key (which, now that I think of it, would probably be simpler), so I wonder if that key is actually something else... But I agree that this is still puzzling. 


There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -- Ernest Hemingway
 

11-10-2017 15:42:30  #6


Re: What is this character?

It might be this, which is an used in the Afikaans language of South Africa. I believe the language uses the other diacritical marks as well. I would guess that it is an Afrikaans layout.

 

11-10-2017 15:46:31  #7


Re: What is this character?

That should read: "Afrikaans language of South Africa"

 

11-10-2017 17:10:33  #8


Re: What is this character?

Mon chapeau! I think you may have nailed it. This link shows that Afrikaans uses those diacritical marks (though nothing about the 'n). http://usefulwebtool.com/en/characters_afrikaans.php Still can't figure out the £ key, unless it actually is a British pound and not an Italian lira. South Africa used the pound until 1961 (according to what I found on the internet), and based on the TWDB the Splendid 33 started production in 1960, so that's consistent. (I'd love to get that typewriter -- still listed as of today. Would also be useful for French and German, though of course not perfect.)

     Thread Starter
 

11-10-2017 18:19:37  #9


Re: What is this character?

Looks like one of the Olympia International keyboard variants (there were a few of them) with a special order key (the Lira symbol) and perhaps a custom key (the 'n). The International keyboards provided typists with the flexibility to create accents for a number of different languages. I have a few Olympia models with a Lira key, but have never seen the n' key before. It would be interesting to know what it's for, but it wouldn't have been for typing "this 'n that" because that would require a 'n' key to be grammatically correct (this 'n' that). 


"To save time is to lengthen life."
 

11-10-2017 18:48:43  #10


Re: What is this character?

Uwe wrote:

It would be interesting to know what it's for.

According to the Wikipedia article, the letter 'n is the indefinite article of Afrikaans, which came about as a contraction of its Dutch equivalent "een". It is never capitalized in standard texts.

 

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