THE CRÈME OF CRISPIES
My friend George has given me his Glasgow-made Olivetti Lettera 22. George bought it from Hopwood Business Machines on George Street in Launceston, Tasmania, in May 1963. It got a lot of use and travel over the next 22 years, and it still has in it the last ribbon George bought. It’s in tip-top condition and types beautifully.
The first time I typed with it, I was absolutely thrilled by the sharp crispness of the elite typeface. So gorgeous, so clean, clear and pleasing to the eye! So fresh (for a 57-year-old typewriter)!
The blue 22 first advertised with the changed keytops in late 1961
George’s gift completes a set for me – a set of bookends, if you like, from the very start of Lettera 22 production in Glasgow to near the end of that line, when the distinctive features of the 32 began to be phased in. A few weeks back I acquired a taupe Olivetti Lettera 22 with the black keytops. Its serial number is a surprise: XS659731. Ted Munk’s serial number database says, “Early Lettera 22 examples have S-Prefix serials”, but I can’t find reference to XS. Whatever it represents, the 659731 figure shows my taupe 22 was one of the earliest ever made. Ted says 22s were numbered up to 904,000 in the model’s first year of production, 1950.
Thanks to this 22 having all its paperwork inside the case, including the instruction booklet and service receipts, I know that it was bought by a Mrs Rollinson at Longs Typewriter Co, 86 Queen Street, London EC4. I can’t find any references to this company online, and I’m wondering if there is any connection with Christopher Long. From London directories on ancestry.com I can see the company was around from at least 1938.
First Australian advert for the 22, November 1951
Later Australian advert, June 1954