Saturday, June 15, 2013

What's new at WordPlay

Things (including typewriters) are hopping at WordPlay Cincy.

On Thursday I picked up 3 Smith-Coronas for cleaning and repair, so that part of my volunteer work is going well. (The charges naturally go to WordPlay.)

We're also selling typewriters in The Urban Legend Institute, and typospherians have responded to my call for donations.

Tom Furrier donated this handsome 1950 Royal Quiet De Luxe:

Tom also donated a nice Royalite which was bought even before it could make it to the Urban Legend Institute; typospherian Miles Stearns came through town needing an ultraportable, so now it's his in exchange for a suitable donation to WordPlay.

Ton S. donated his Olivetti Lettera 12. What a futuristic, high-concept typewriter this is. I was surprised to learn that it was introduced as far back as 1979. To fix a rattly return, I needed to remove the carriage (4 screws) and the body shell (another 4 screws). When I figured out the problem, a little stretching of one tiny spring did the trick. The mainspring also needed a little tightening. With the shell off, this is still a very interesting-looking machine, with dowel-mounted keylevers in a complicated plastic housing. 

Also for sale is this little Wizard Truetype that came to WordPlay from a local donor. I wish I had a "before" picture: it was filthy, the carriage return lever wouldn't stay up, and the gray paint had worn off on the corners. This called for a new paint job. The trickiest repair was fixing the return lever (a ball bearing was missing) and the line advance mechanism (a tiny nut was missing). Removing the left platen knob is very fussy on this machine. But the end result is a good-looking, functional little typewriter.

More donations are in the works, and I thank the donors in advance.

I'll also share these inspiring photos from WordPlay's Facebook page.


  1. I like the style of that Lettera 22. Great to see the project coming along this well, seeing the children using these great writing instruments is very inspirational. I bet this is a experience they'll cherish in the future.

  2. They have a good thing going there. Keep up the good work!

  3. Where does the Lettera 12 fit in with the Lettera 35 Brazil era Olivetti machines? A very cool looking typewriter

  4. Always great to see WordPlay updates, Richard, thanks.

    Steve- Lettera 12 and Lettera 35 were designed by Mario Bellini. I've not heard of a L35 Brazilian version; if you meant the Lettera 82, then that has completely lost the Italian design lineage and is more kindred with Paillard/Hermes Rocket.

  5. Fantastic work everyone! The spirit of generosity is alive in the Typosphere!

  6. :) Crayola crayons are my favorites as well.
    Love the work you're doing here, truly a great cause to spread the love of these machines to the next generation. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Those are some great looking typewriters. As I get time to repair more of mine I'll route the extras to WordPlay. The way my typewriter projects are going it may be 2014 though.

  8. I love the Olivetti and the Wizard. I've never even heard of a wizard before, but they're on my wishlist now!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sophia.

      The WIzard is a name variant of the Brother. It has a neat front panel reminiscent of '60s auto styling.

      All 3 typewriters featured here have now sold, I'm happy to report.