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16-4-2017 09:38:16  #11

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

Considering the advice so far, I am leaning heavily towards the Lettera 32.  And they also seem cheap and plentiful enough online, to be a good first typewriter purchase.  Particularly considering my lack of experience of what to look for at an online dealer.


16-4-2017 21:10:15  #12

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

Hi Again

​The Olivetti Lettera-32 is definitely a reliable little portable, and light enough to pack in your carry-on luggage, I've done it when I brought my Aunt Celia's Lettera-32 back from England so I could repair it in my shop. Just make sure you tell security at the airport that you have it in your carry-on so they don't get a surprise when they run your bag through the X-ray. If you get one with a good case, you can stuff 20 or 30 sheets of A-4 paper plus a backing sheet into the lid of the case so you'll always have paper at the ready for when inspiration hits.

My only beef with the 32 is the very narrow space bar. For most people it's not an issue, but with my big hands I often catch one of the letters on the bottom row when I'm spacing or miss the space bar altogether and hit the frame instead. If my hands were a little smaller, I would have kept my 32 as a regular use machine. Let us know how you progress goes on this quest. All the best,


We humans go through many computers in our lives, but in their lives, typewriters go through many of us.
In that way, they’re like violins, like ancestral swords. So I use mine with honor and treat them with respect.
I try to leave them in better condition than I met them. I am not their first user, nor will I be their last.
Frederic S. Durbin. (Typewriter mania and the modern writer)

17-4-2017 18:39:53  #13

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

Svip, I did not realize you are not already in North America.
I would certainly encourage you to find a nice machine there where you are in your part of the world.
Personally, from the link you posted, I would go for the SIEMAG or the Tippa or the Torpedo but, that's me.
Look closely at that Remington and you will notice that the keys are all 'wonkee' ( that is a highly technical term that means ' all goofed up') and I would not buy a machine like that, over the internet and without even getting to handle it first, especially if this is your first machine.
Something you might also consider would be to find a good portable machine when you get to North America this summer rather than hauling one over here with you.
You might even consider leaving it here when you return home just to make for a lighter load.
You don't say ware you in N.A. you intend to begin your odyssey but, I'm sure you could find a suitable machine for the summer before you set off. 


28-4-2017 12:37:26  #14

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

Hello again.

Sorry for the radio silent all of the sudden. However, yesterday these two arrived:

I've obtained a Olivetti Loretta 32 and an Alder Tippa, with a British and Danish keyboard, respectively.

I've replaced the ribbon on both (the Loretta 32 got a black/red one, while the Tippa an all black one). Here is a picture of some test typing on both typewriters (black first, then red, even on the Tippa):


Loretta 32

As you can see, the Loretta has some issues with its 'printing'. I've also noticed that the ribbon gets released from the left wheel, but the right wheel doesn't 'pull', so the ribbon slowly starts 'piling up'. I fear I've attached the new ribbon incorrectly. But it looked right.

I've also noticed that the shift lock tends to get really locked, and I need to use a bit of force to get unlocked again.

The Tippa, on the other hand, has none of these issues. As you can see, it's printing is pretty neat. Although, I get better result switching to red, even though the ribbon is all black.

However, it does have issues of its own. Its E-key tends to keep hanging for a bit, before releasing itself. Which is slightly problematic, since E is a very common key, and I tend to make mistakes quite frequently, because I forget to wait for the E key to release itself.

Also, its one dead key (¨´) gets locked every time you use it. It can only get resolved by manually flicking its lever back.

However, despite this, I must say, I am leaning towards the Tippa more than the Loretta right now. I just like typing on the Tippa a bit more than the Loretta. And its weight is far more appropriate to keep in your lap. Not that the Loretta is too heavy.

And - I'll admit - I do like being able to write in Danish on the Tippa.

(I apologise for some incorrect typewriter term usage, but I am pretty new to this.)

     Thread Starter

28-4-2017 23:25:58  #15

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

Hi Svip.
Good news for getting bothe machines.
Sounds as though you have already decided what machine you like the best.
I would choose the Tippa over the Lettera myself as you seem to have done .
I think you will be happy with it.
You will probably find it nice to have a typewriter with you that speaks your native language.


28-4-2017 23:39:50  #16

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

I just wish I could fix the E key on the Tippa.  That really is my main hurdle with it so far.

     Thread Starter

29-4-2017 07:40:44  #17

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

Update!  Since I cannot edit posts.

After some more usage (written two full papers so far), the E key is slowly becoming more... friendly.  Perhaps usage is helping?

Regardless, I am still confused whether I'm doing the ribbons right.  I noticed the Tippa was decreasing in ink strength, so I opened it, and noticed that the small ring in the ribbon had gotten stuck between the two levers near the left ribbon wheel.  I also noticed that the Tippa insisted the ribbon move from left to right.  I therefore took the ribbon out and turned it around (being all black, this was not a problem), and now it's working fine.

But I wonder whether the ribbons should be attached in a special way, other than what seems obvious (I based my attachment of the ribbon on how the previously installed one was).

How often do ribbons wear out?  I plan on typing a whole lot, would buying a backup be a good idea?

     Thread Starter

30-4-2017 05:42:46  #18

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

Hi Svip. Nice buys! A couple of thoughts, the main one of which is that it really sounds like the segment and type bars need cleaning on that Tippa. If a key is sticking that's the cause 99.9% of the time. And yes, using it will also loosen it up - but if you clean it and the use it you will find it typing like a dynamo! 

The printing on both machines seems to be missing the tops of the letters. On the Tippa it looks like the typeheads are hitting the platen too far up, so the bottom of the letters is very black but the top half isn't hitting the rubber full-on. There should be some crews you can tighten up (or loosen up) that control type alignment - usually one on each side. Someone on here is sure to know how you adjust alignment on a Tippa... 

The other one is a Lettera, not a Loretta - once again it looks as if the type is hitting too high, so that when it should be typing red, the very tops of the letters hit black ribbon. BUT - in all-black, it's fine, so maybe the problem is not with the alignment, but with the ribbon vibrator - the bit that lifts the ribbon up when you type. Once again, if you do a thorough clean with Q tips and white spirits, you may find that the vibrator will move more freely and you won't have that issue. (If you do still have it, I'd sort it by just getting asolid black ribbon and forgetting about it!) The Lettera is really also worth cleaning up - the touch is feather-light when it's clean and fresh. 

As for the ribbons, the eyelet that you've found stuck in the works is meant to be an indicator that the spool is near the end, and it is meant to trip the spool into going in the other direction. Sounds like you hadn't threaded it through something... 

The ribbon in the Tippa goes through the double prongs of the ribbon guide at the corner by each spool, and then through the ribbon vibrator in the middle. On an Olivetti it leaves the spool and it should go around the little rod in the corner by the spool - then between the two prongs of the ribbon guide - and then through the vibrator mechanism. When working out how to thread it, just bear in mind that the ribbon itself needs to travel straight through, so it should be lying more or less flat inside all those various bits that hold it in place. 

There's never any harm in having a few spare ribbons about! And you might want to get black ones, as when you wear out the 'black' bit, you can change your colour selector to red - thus doubling the use you get out of the ribbon.


30-4-2017 05:58:17  #19

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

Hey KatLondon, thank you for the detailed reply.

I don't know why I kept misspelling the Lettera as a Loretta.

You are right, that the E key did loosen up after some usage, and it is no longer a problem.  Although, a cleaning of the Tippa would not be a bad idea.

Indeed, I want to focus on the Tippa for now, since that's the one I am using the most for the time being.  That may change, obviously!

After some more ribbon issues, I've tried reattaching them yet again.  But this time I took pictures:

After I did this attachment, I haven't had issues with the ribbons, but I wonder if it's too early too tell.

But I also had another question, there are a plus and minus sign under the dust cover, what are those for?

And the <-|-|-> key (don't know its name, but that's how its symbol look, but I forgot to take a picture, and my camera is recharging), what does that do?  I assume it has something to do with the ribbons, but I don't know.

     Thread Starter

30-4-2017 08:54:53  #20

Re: Looking for a solid portable typewriter

The + and - under the ribbon cover should be the touch adjustment. A lever nearby will offer a variable hardness to the feel of the keys - that is, if the machine has been properly degreaser. Often on many old machines the touch adjustment makes little difference.

The other key looks like the margin release, which you press to permit typing past the margin stop. On some machines it also serves to dejam the keys when you accidentally press two at once.


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