Typewriter Acquisition: Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22

Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22

I’m an equal-opportunity office supply junkie. Pens? Yes, of course. Paper? Yep. Staplers, paper clips, clipboards? Don’t mind if I do. And the coup de gras of old office goodies, manual typewriters? Oo la la!

This weekend we went out to our favorite antique mall which is often a hot bed of vintage office supplies like old staplers, pocket notebooks with feed store logos and the occasional bullet pencil but typewriters tend to be of the dusty-and-rusty variety and never anything serviceable or useable. Until this weekend when I stumbled across a minty Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22.

Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22

The mall was having a “meet the vendors” night with free cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and special discounts on merchandise so this fine piece of mid-century mechanics was 35% off. I grabbed this beauty and hopped to the register faster than you can say “shabby chic” and then we headed over to Skylab Letterpress to do some light cleaning and oiling.

Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22

It cleaned up beautifully and the keys work beautifully. I just need to order a new ribbon for it. It has a switch for two-color ribbon so I’ll keep that in mind when I order a new spool.

Sadly, the typewriter no longer had its carrying case so I’m keeping an old bit of fabric over the top of it to keep it from getting dusty until I find a case for it. Holler if you happen to find one!

Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22

Do you peruse thrift stores, antique markets or yard sales for vintage office supplies, pens or pencils?

10 thoughts on “Typewriter Acquisition: Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 22

  1. An elderly relative gave me her vintage typewriter (with case!) for Christmas last year. It’s a beauty. I have yet to type on it, but I love to look at it as an objet d’art. I have photographed it in combination with stacks of old journals and a vintage bottle of Waterman’s ink I found at an antique shop last year. I’d be glad to send a photo. I share your passion for office supplies and love your blog.

  2. This model Olivetti got me through my undergrad years without causing a problem. (No surprise here; Cormac McCarthy is alleged to have written 20 novels on a Lettera 22, making only minor repairs.) In grad school I switched to a Smith-Corona electric, but things were never quite the same. Congratulations on getting a lovely specimen of one of the best manual typewriters ever made.

  3. Thanks for taking me along on your journey of discovery! I remember that Olivettis were the creme-de-la-creme typewriters, back in the day.

  4. Congrats! My mom had one in a dusky Mediterranean blue that was totally off limits to all of us girls. She kept it covered with a pink and white striped hatbox of all things! Boy I wish that was still in the family. Thanks for bringing back that old memory .

  5. I am always on the hunt for cool office supplies…and old sewing machines.
    Such a cool find for you!

  6. All things pens, pencils and paper of course. But drafting templates, compasses, and french curves are also a big weakness for me.

Comments are closed.