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24-7-2021 13:15:13  #1

Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

Does anyone have thoughts on the quality of a Canadian made Lettera 33? I thought they were only made in Italy.
I recently saw one that had the ribbon vibrator somewhat 'askew'. Lower on one side, not straight horizontally. Looking at pictures of this model on the database site, some had a similar issue with the vibrator.
Is this normal? A problem to fix, or to adjust?
Any thoughts or advice or opinions on this typewriter model would be great.


24-7-2021 13:57:51  #2

Re: Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

Many Olivettis, including probably this one, have a vibrator that is pivoted off to the right side instead of being kicked up straight from the middle. The effect of that design can look tilted. If it actually works OK (gets the ribbon up and drops down for reading) then it's fine. Look at your vibrator more closely.
If it doesn't work OK, then look for debris that impedes its motion. If there is none, look for bent parts in the linkage. If you can't get it satisfactory, then come back here with particulars. Good luck.


24-7-2021 16:13:24  #3

Re: Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

Thank you for this info on the vibrator M. Hohne. 
Do you know anything about the quality of the typewriters made in Canada?

     Thread Starter

24-7-2021 19:06:38  #4

Re: Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

Some of the Olympia ultra-portables have that 1-armed side-lift vibrator, as well.


24-7-2021 21:01:55  #5

Re: Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

typewriters made in Canada? No, no particular knowledge of them but I have no reason to be wary of them. Olivetti was based in Italy but their typewriters were made in Mexico, Brazil, Scotland, Canada, an eastern European country that I have forgotten, and the U.S. after they bought Underwood.


24-7-2021 21:05:40  #6

Re: Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

... and Spain. There seems to be a preference for ones made in Italy and I think, while there have been differences among them, including using plastic for some bodies that were originally metal, I think It's usually that Italy as a land carries more prestige. (This will provoke more detailed commentary for you over the next day or so.)


25-7-2021 08:48:00  #7

Re: Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

Thanks for all the insights.
Richard Polt, in his book, "The Typewriter Revolution", suggests that one "should choose a Lettera made in Italy or Spain rather than the later, lower-quality ones made in Mexico or Yugoslavia."
Would that include Canada?

     Thread Starter

25-7-2021 09:29:00  #8

Re: Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

Perhaps it's not where the machines were made, but when. A Canadian made Olivetti would obviously be one from after the merger with Underwood, and as such, later production.

Even within one brand the quality of the products, or perceived quality, dropped as time went on. The Smith-Corona Super 5 series are pretty much the pinnacle of typewriter production in the USA, being incredibly durable, relatively easy to maintain, and having excellent fit and finish. Compare that typewriter to a later production SCM Galaxie, with much more plastic, a bit more rattling here and there, and it's obvious what the perception would be. The Galaxie line are excellent machines to work on, but they just feel different than their older relatives. 

The same line of thought followed Leica cameras and lenses made in Portugal and Canada. People thought those products were inferior to cameras and lenses produced in Germany, yet the Canadian production of the M4-2 and the Mandler designed lenses turned out to be one major thing that saved Leica. Now the lenses designed and produced in Canada are renowned as some of the best optics ever made, and the camera bodies proved over the last four decades that they are every bit as good as the German production.

Phil Forrest


27-7-2021 11:33:01  #9

Re: Canadian made Olivetti Lettera 33?

I've never noticed anything sub-par about any Canadian-made typewriter - Olivetti-Underwood included. Many manufacturers produced typewriters here, and there's no reason why Canadian manufacturing standards or quality controls would have been lower than those of any other country. I own both an Italian and Canadian made 33 and wouldn't describe one being better than the other.


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