I recently bought an Olympia SM3 typewriter, circa 1955. It’s a manual typewriter, German-made. Its keys make the perfect clickety-clack, and the margin bell chimes clear. I typed on a manual typewriter in college, pounding out dozens of term papers. High school buddies at Western Kentucky University paid me to type their papers. Somewhere along the line, I got rid of that typewriter, also an Olympia, a later model. Recently, I began to wish for it back. After a little research on manual typewriters, I set about buying an Olympia SM3. After striking out locally, I ended up on eBay, where I noted these typewriters were attracting bidding interest. I set my price, allowing that the typewriter might need to be worked on, and it was mine.
I plan to use it primarily for writing notes and cards, though already I have typed household lists and instructions. My sons think it is pretty neat, though they, along with their father, are predicting the Olympia typewriter will meet the same fate as the much longed for Pfaff (also German made) sewing machine, given to me years ago by my in-laws. My mother was an excellent seamstress and typist; she could just as easily adjust her justified margins as she could expertly finish a hem. I couldn’t imagine a household without the whirl of a sewing machine. It is true the sewing machine is long gone, but not before I completed the promised piece — an Indiana University cape for our rescue Golden Retriever mix, Pearl Bodine.
I’ve learned about my Olympia typewriter. Mad Men’s Don Draper types on a dark green SM3. Writer Don DeLillo and screenwriter Woody Allen also compose on the model. Be assured, I won’t type this blog (called typecasting) on my typewriter, though I do plan to enjoy it.