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10-9-2017 01:20:03  #1

Olympia SF - faint type

Hi all,

I recently purchased an Olympia SF, which is in great condition, but the the type is quite faint unless I strike the keys with a lot of force. A few days ago, I purchased a new ribbon off ebay and fitted it, but that hasn't improved things much (and yet the same ribbon works nicely on my Adler Tippa). I'm pretty sure that I've installed the ribbon correctly (see photo) and the spools are moving okay. I've also tried adjusting the tension setting (see photo) but that hasn't helped either. Overall, the feel of the Olympia is much looser and less responsive than the Adler - is that to be expected? I've only managed to get somewhat better results by using two sheets of paper, but the quality of the type is still quite variable.

Any ideas?

By the way, I posted this question in another thread, but now that I've gotten around to taking some photos (excuse my exploratory typing ), I thought I'd make a separate topic out of it. I hope that's okay.



12-9-2017 19:40:16  #2

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

Hi Ted

​Try the simplest things first, load 3 sheets of paper into the machine (1 copy and 2 backing sheets). This will bring the paper slightly closer to the type bars. I have an Olympia SF Deluxe that was totally gummed up when I bought it. Even after a thorough cleaning and careful oiling, it too takes quite a bit of key pressure to get a clear print. Whether this is the nature of the machine or I just have one that's out of tune I don't know. If someone else here owns an SF Deluxe, please chime in with your take on required key pressure. 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)

15-9-2017 07:18:15  #3

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

Thanks skywatcher!  I gave it a go with 3+ sheets and that improved things quite a bit. It'll be much less of a slog when it comes to typing up a manuscript! I have noticed that the type has a shadow behind it now though; does that mean it needs some cleaning?

I'd also still be interested in hearing about other people's experiences with the SF models.


     Thread Starter

15-9-2017 08:50:12  #4

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

Yes I've used a couple and they work very well - your machine clearly has a problem.
Now, I am not a typewriter expert by any means, but it seems to me that the platen of your TW is set too far to the rear.  More than likely, I guess, the entire carriage has slipped backwards on its adjusters; perhaps it has received a knock.
I don't now have one of these to check the location, but there will be a point towards either end of the carriage assembly where it is screwed down to the frame of the machine itself - and there should be some adjustment there so that the carriage assm. can be set at precisely the correct distance from the type slugs when they strike.  The adjustment will be a very fine one, and must be accomplished so that the platen is exactly the same distance from the slugs both at the extreme right and at the extreme left.
  I would research the location of these adjustment points, and also how to make the adjustment accurately.  I had a large Olympia which needed the same treatment, and I just dived in with my screwdriver - everything went well and the problem was cured by setting the whole carriage assm., just a fraction forward, but I may have been very lucky; the adjustment could be tricky.  I was aided in setting the correct position by age marks around the screws; it was clear that the assm. had moved back, and it was clear from the marks where t should have been, so I repositioned there.  Up to you if you want to try it, but research and patience always help.


29-9-2017 13:43:41  #5

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

The "shadow" is likely just a byproduct of the impressions being more visible now. I'd guess it was there before, but much much fainter.

It's caused by using computer-style keypresses instead of quick, sharp keystrokes.

Ideally, you should stop applying pressure to a key just before it hits the paper. The last bit of distance and force for the impression will come from the momentum of the swinging typebar. The typeslug will hit the ribbon/paper/platen and bounce off.

If you apply pressure too long, it will move back towards the platen after bouncing off it. This creates the second, slightly offset (and much lighter) impression.

I've tested this on an Underwood 378 (was in front of me at the time), and intentionally holding down the keys too long consistently produces the "shadow".


17-9-2021 06:46:54  #6

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

Good day to all !
4 years on from the original post now ... 
and I have the same exact problem on the same machine described by the original post. My newly acquired Olympia SF looks to be well taken care and everything works just fine. Except for the faint type.
Is there a way I can move the platen towards the slug? 


17-9-2021 12:09:19  #7

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

Solved. Here is what I got that helped



17-9-2021 20:21:02  #8

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

Thanks for the follow-up posting.  This will help Members in the future, as well.


17-9-2021 20:26:27  #9

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

Here is my 1965-made Olympia SF.

It came to me in perfect working order and just needed a good cleaning,, light oiling, and a new ribbon.


18-9-2021 03:55:35  #10

Re: Olympia SF - faint type

Beautiful machine you got there!! 


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