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30-12-2019 05:16:43  #1

Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

Hello all,

I am wondering, some (but not all) Splendids and/or SFs have airbrush-like paint on the sides of the ribboncover and other body parts. Never on the paper deflector. Is this how the machines are intended to look or is it due to aging?

On the picture below the effect is vissible on the right side of the Splendid ribbon cover. The other ribbon cover is from an SF.



30-12-2019 10:30:25  #2

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

Welcome to the world of old stuff. The colors you're seeing re the effects of aging. Some typewriters spent their lives in front of a window where one side gets sun for years and the other sides are in shadow and some of those may have had random stuff partially covering them for years at a time so they were affected by sunlight, sometimes fading, sometimes having a chemical reaction. They may have been stored next to mothballs, or tobacco, or something. Sometimes original colors can be restored but usually it's not worth the effort and sometimes attempts can make matters worse.
In your example, I will bet that the two had very different treatment over the decades. Re the Splendid, I'm sure Olympia did not deliberately decorate it like that.


31-12-2019 05:43:48  #3

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

No it is not aging !  Most Splendids were made with a light 'hammered enamel' finish.  The SF Deluxe ribbon cover was always a sprayed finish - although the lower light grey coloured casing does have a slight 'hammered' effect.  Earlier white-coloured Splendids can go a yellowy colour with age and exposure to sunlight.


31-12-2019 09:50:33  #4

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

I don't know where the confusion comes from. My assertion about aging in Laurenz's picture was only about the yellowish edge along the right side of the Splendid, not about any textures or how they were applied. Your last sentence agrees with my contention about the effect he asked about. I don't understand why you say "it is not aging!"

Do you know whether Olympia ever offered an airbrushed effect on their typewriters? I think not. Some German companies used airbrush decoration a lot, Rixie and Dürkopp bicycles for examples, but not Olympia typewriters.


31-12-2019 12:10:54  #5

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

Looks like there's a little misunderstanding.

I agree with Michael that the yellowed "airbrush" edge that Laurenz is asking about is the effect of age on the paint - and not something that had been intentionally done at the factory. There are a number of Olympia models (and those from most other manufacturers) with paint colours that were more prone to discolouring from aging (or patina if you want to be romantic about it). 

Tom is correct about the differences in paint techniques between the two models, but I don't think that was the point of Laurenz's post.

Changing the subject: Happy New Year everyone!

Stay Safe! 

31-12-2019 14:31:54  #6

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

Yes, sorry folks - Uwe is right - it was a slight misunderstanding on my part.  I thought that you were referring to the texture of the paint finish.  Having again looked closely at the photos, I can now see the yellowing around the edges which is typical of Splendids that were white when they left the factory but have been affected by sunlight over the intervening years.  Oddly this malady doesn't seem the affect the SF Deluxe which uses a different sort of paint in a 'flatter' finish.  To open the subject up a little more, the rougher finish on white Olympia Travellers normally only yellows on exposure to nicotine.  However the white plastic snap-over carry case does go a very unattractive shade of yellow with prolonged exposure to sunlight.  White Silver-Reed electronic office typewriters did exactly the same thing within three years of being sold new !   HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR READERS ON THE FORUM - Tom.


01-1-2020 05:46:44  #7

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

Thank you all and a happy new year!

I was indeed curious about the yellow discolor. It seems it only appears with the hammered enamel finish. The parts on the Splendid that don't have the hammered finish are just looking as new. This may explain why the light grey ribbon cover on the picture (from an older SF Deluxe) doesn't have any signs of aging: it does not have the hammered finish.

     Thread Starter

01-1-2020 10:34:56  #8

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

It is not the hammered finish, nor the color, per se, that causes this---it is the chemical composition of the paint. And the composition is determined by the color that the paint-maker wants to achieve. White pigments are notorious for having unusual characteristics compared with other pigments (well, of course, they all have their quirks). The fact that this color change does not occur with all white paints is because there are other chemicals involved, too. Enamels act differently from acrylics (which weren't even available in the '50s), Well, maybe there is a chemical that effects the hammered appearance that the smooth finishes don't have but OTOH other colors of hammered finish don't show this, so....

The fact that your grey doesn't (seem to) show this effect is not due to the smooth finish, per se, but the fact that its composition is different (it might not even have any of this susceptible pigment) and that any slight color change may be masked by the darker (than white) color. Figuring all this out, I leave as an exercise for the reader.

Thus another aspect of the mysterious chemistry of typewriters---it's not just metaphor anymore.


01-1-2020 14:18:37  #9

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

Then I assume the chemical composition that causes the hammered effect is prone to aging effects.

All my SF's with a hammered finish have the yellow discoloration:

- Splendid 33 from 1962 (beige with maroon keys)
- Splendid 33 from 1965 (creme with green shift keys and platen knobs)
- SF De Luxe from 1969 (white with dark-gray keys and bottom)

The effect is hard to spot on the beige Splendid, but it is definitely there. It is - as shown on my picture - good visible on the creme Splendid. The white SF De Luxe is just painful to watch, my first impression was someone had tried to repaint it and failed horrible...

     Thread Starter

01-1-2020 14:31:38  #10

Re: Olympia Splendid and SF paintjob

Oh, all right, assume it.


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