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09-3-2015 18:56:32  #1

Olivetti Lettera 22 keys won't move

I have an Olivetti Lettera 22, made in Italy in the 50s, unsure because the serial # is 388446, which doesn't seem to be listed. Anyway, it feels like something is blocking the key levers and the typebars only come up about halfway. While inspecting it, I found that this comb-like piece is what is blocking them:


You can see that it is physically sitting under the key levers. So if I move it to the right so it is out of the way, it slides under the screw marked in blue, and pivots the lever marked in red slightly.

That lever is attached to this piece running under the whole typewriter, and I mean the flat black piece underneath the rods:

So, my first question is what IS this lever? Why would the comb need to move (or does it)? And my next question is how do I fix this? Do I need the comb to be in a position where it doesn't block the levers and then tighten the screws so it stays there? I don't want to make anything worse.



Los Angeles, CA

10-3-2015 07:55:38  #2

Re: Olivetti Lettera 22 keys won't move

I'd have to check one of my L22s, but my first reaction is to question whether it's a part of the carriage lock mechanism. Most carriage locks only immobilize the carriage, but I believe some might have also immobilized the key bars so that they weren't flopping around while the machine was being transported.

The flat bar in your last photo clearly runs to the very back of the machine, but it is on the same side as the carriage lock, so maybe the only reason it extends that far is because it pivots there. I would look to see if there's an interlock with the carriage lock lever of some kind - providing of course that I'm not way off base with this guess.

Good luck and let us know how you made out. 

"To save time is to lengthen life."

10-3-2015 17:52:33  #3

Re: Olivetti Lettera 22 keys won't move

The carriage lock only immobilises the carriage on this model.  The comb-like piece under the keyboard is there to lock the keyboard when the carriage hits the right hand margin.  It is obviously jammed in the locked position.  What happens when you press the margin release key (blank key top left of the keyboard) ?


10-3-2015 17:57:28  #4

Re: Olivetti Lettera 22 keys won't move

Yes, I traced the linkage and figured out that it had something to do with the "end of line" lock or right margin. When I press the margin release key it doesn't affect the comb piece. But the margin release seems to work for both margins. I haven't been able to find any reason yet for it to be jammed. Hmm.

Los Angeles, CA
     Thread Starter

10-3-2015 19:05:42  #5

Re: Olivetti Lettera 22 keys won't move

Cleaning never hurts, and may release something.  I would hit the comb and the entire linkage associated with it with meths (being careful not to get it on any painted surfaces) and keep brushing it on to all the parts generously.  This can release old thickened oil and general muck.  Even if this does not release the mechanism, and it might, it will do no harm.  Good luck.

Last edited by beak (10-3-2015 19:06:40)


27-6-2018 13:35:45  #6

Re: Olivetti Lettera 22 keys won't move

I was wondering if you managed to solve your problem as I have a similar issues with my newly purchased Lettera 22. The carriage is locked to the centre and won't release. Upon inspection I've also fund this comb-like piece linked to the flat piece that spans for the whole depth of the typewriter. My suspect is that this contributes to the jam as it also interacts with the spacebar key. 


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