Have you seen film Populaire? It’s a light-hearted French rom-com about a secretary who competes in the speed typing world championship in the 1950s. The beautiful typewriters almost steal the show from the amazing retro wardrobe.
I love¬†vintage typewriters, especially the ones from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. My favourite styles are from Olivetti, Smith-Corona, and Olympia. I have a¬†mint Olympia that I use to bang out first drafts of short stories. On special occasions, I’ll type¬†a letter to a friend.
I’m happy¬†with one typewriter right now, but I’d like to start a small collection in the near future. I’m eyeing a rare pink Olympia with cursive font, and¬†I also want to find¬†a bright orange Olivetti. I like them bright. These typewriters are just my type (sorry):
1st row: blue Olympia – lilac Olivetti – red Olympia
2nd row: yellow Olivetti – green Olivetti – pink Smith-Corona
3rd row: pink Olivetti – white Olympia – blue Royal
4th row: blue Smith-Corona – red Olivetti – pink Olympia
Tips for buying a vintage typewriter locally or online
- Make sure the keys are QWERTY (or the keyword setup you want to use).
- Ask what kind of ribbon the typewriter uses. Most will take a universal spool, which is a 1/2-inch ribbon. These ribbons are widely available and one can last for years, depending on how much you use your typewriter.
- See an example of the text it produces so you’ll know if you like the font.
- Buy from a reputable seller who knows how to restore typewriters. It might be cheaper to buy one as-is, but it’s a risk. You’ll have to hire an expert if the typewriter is too dirty or if something doesn’t work. I did buy mine from Ebay. Luckily the typewriter came in good working order, but the seller didn’t know how to package it properly for shipping and a little bit of the paint chipped.
Do you have a vintage typewriter? Let me know in the comments below!