29 January 2012

A Groovy Typewriter: The Olympia Traveller Deluxe

Here is are photos of the Olympia Traveller Deluxe. It is a metal bodied machine with a plastic snap on case. It is quite portable and a good typewriter.

Olympia Traveller Deluxe

Olympia Traveller Deluxe

Look at the pictures, I would like to explain the situation more. My desk is near the doorway to the kitchen (you can see into the kitchen in these and some other photos). My computer desk, and one of my typewriter stands/desks is right next to me at my left so I have to do is turn to type. The lighting there is poor for taking pictures, so I move the typewriter desk over near a light on a desk by the wall behind me (one for my sister's painting). The desk is only moved a few feet, but the lighting is better. Later, I will post a picture of my computer/typewriter area as I generally use it. It is a nice modern setup as you will see.

The case you see partially in the background is the Corona Silent of the previous blog post.


  1. I didn't like the two Traveller Delux I've tried out so far. Both felt almost "rusty", not much better than my plastic-brother 1613 from 1989.

  2. I'd love some advice and if you can help I'd be grateful.

    I've toyed with the idea of buying a manual typewriter for some time now and having seen a Typewriter. Olympia Traveller de Luxe on gumtree for £30 I thought I'd do a little research to find out about it; hence my visit here via google.

    So ... I'm sure you'll have your own preferences etc but being as neutral as possible what do you think woud be a good manual typewriter to get considering my top end budget would be £50? I would want to use it as opposed to have it as one of many in a collection.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated! :-)

    1. Typewriter quality varies a lot, and given that vintage models are variable depending on condition, it is hard to make a single answer.

      In general, for a good typewriter for cheap, one will want a portable from after WWII. There are two general types of portable typewriters. There are regular portable full featured typewriters and there are ultra-portable typewriters. The better typewriter is the one which sacrifices the least to be compact, so getting a main line portable would be the best bet. If I had to recommend a single model, it would be a Galaxie bodied Smith-Corona (search "Galaxie" on my blog to see a few). They are perhaps the best portable typewriter design for writing, and they are newer than most so are likely to be in good condition.

      I do not know what models are readily available to you, but typewriters like the Smith-Corona Super 5 series, the Olympia SM series, the Olivetti models from the 60s, and some others would be good as well. If you intend to only get one typewriter, then one is restricted to getting the best bet, hopefully one can try out before buying.

      You can contact others on the TYPEWRITERS or TypeSwap Yahoo! group to try to get a typewriter from someone who is local and who knows typewriters well, rather than chance it on the open market.

  3. Hi there. Love the blog as I'm a recent convert to the awesomeness of typewriters. I recently purchased through Etsy an Olympia Traveller made in East Germany. It was in non-working condition when it arrived despite the seller advertising it as being in "Excellent Condition." I took it to one of two places in Austin, Texas that specializes in repairing typewriters and was charged a whopping $95 for the 'adjustment' of something called a 'starwheel.' My first instinct was to complain (bitterly) but I held off because, well, I know almost absolutely nothing about typewriter parts and how much they cost to 'adjust.' Would you say I was overcharged? Thanks a lot for having this excellent blog up for typewriter novices like myself!

    1. Thanks! I hope my blog is interesting.

      Typewriters now are generally objects of the past. As such, repair of them can often be tricky. The original parts are often not available, the knowledge is often rare, and the skill to repair them is not common.

      I do not know exactly what was wrong with your typewriter, but anything wrong with the escapement (with which the starwheel engages) is a death sentence usually in my book. That you were able to find someone to repair it is something many wish they could have. If you have a working typewriter now, I would say it was worth it.

      However, you should not accept fraud, intentionally or not, on eBay and you should be compensated for that, but it may be too late. I would have contacted the seller immediately after receiving it and informing the seller of the misrepresented condition. I have some advice on the links at the top of my blog on buying/selling typewriters.

      And, a typewriter made in East Germany or any nation in the Soviet Union is something pretty cool usually (at least, in America).

    2. J.F., thanks for the response. I agree that owning something that came from East Germany is pretty cool. That and the relatively low price I paid for it on eBay ($52) are why I've been willing to part with money ($95 was about my limit, though) to have it repaired. It's also the reason I accepted its non-working condition as it didn't seem in bad enough shape to warrant a return especially considering that it was only $52. It looks brand new. How it types, on the other hand, is a completely different story.

      I'd, before this purchase, never typed on a typewriter before but I knew the keys would have to be pressed down harder, obviously, than the keys on a modern day keyboard. I failed to realize that I'd have to pound pretty hard on each key though in order to transfer ink onto paper to the point where my typing speed has gone from about 60 or so wpm to about, I don't know, 5 wpm. That was surprising. Is this normal for manual, non-electric typewriters? Also, I can't seem to find the number 1! Where the heck did the 1 key go? Anyway, thanks again J.F.!

    3. Typewriters vary a lot and it depends on the model, its condition, and the user. But, normally, one can type very fast on typewriters and it does not take that much force. The smaller the portable, the more effort it may take however, due to design faults.

      The lowercase letter "l" is also the number 1. Also, if you do not have one, a "!" is a ', backspace, and a .

      That is a normal design of typewriters and typewriters which have a 1/! key (or a 1/+ key, and the ! will be elsewhere) are a late design.

  4. Hello!

    I am new to the manual typewriting scene and your blog has been extremely useful!

    I have been eying an Olympia Traveller de Luxe (in green!) for a while now and really want to make the purchase. But I have a few questions.

    I would be buying this for everyday use and I want to know if this is a good model. Plus because it's a German model I want to make sure I can readily get ribbon. I am just curious whether this will be something I can purchase in the next 5-10 years?

    Also, I have read a lot of reviews online about the model and it seems that price is all over the place. The one I am looking at looks really splendid. But it is $200. Is that an reasonable price? It would be shipped from the Netherlands, so there is no way I can test it out beforehand.

    What are your thoughts? Well priced? Good for a first-time user? Are parts (ie. ribbon, etc) readily available, especially because it's a German model?

    Thank you so much! Cheers from Washington DC!

    1. You should be able to obtain ribbons indefinitely. Most typewriters use the same ribbon, and they are still made new. Olympia typewriters were widely exported and they are very common in the USA.

      In my experience, this model is not the best for typing. It is visually stimulating, but it is a mediocre typewriter when compared to models which are better designed for typing. It is not a bad typewriter, but it isn't particularly good.

      A reasonable price for this typewriter depends on its condition really and what one is willing to pay. My pages at the top of my blog have information about buying typewriters. It is not very straightforward, and there is always risk.

      From the information you gave, international shipping (I assume), a high price, and no experience probably makes this not worth the expense. The risk is very high, unless you know and trust the seller very well.

      I have a typewriter for sale, a compact model, which is not the best typewriter, but I believe it types better than this model, and I am a lot closer to you. If you are interested, email me at gaelicwolfling@gmail.com

  5. Thank you for the very helpful feedback. The shipping plus the fact that I can't test this out, makes me a bit wary. I'm going to read a bit more on your blog.

    Thank you again!!!

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  7. Hi, I have this exact same typewriter, recently retrieved from mother's apartment (my parents had gotten it for me in high school). Can you advise me as to what kind of ribbon I need and also where I might find one? I would be much obliged.
    annie samuels

    1. This typewriter uses a standard 1/2" ribbon on 2" spools and ribbons sold on universal spools should work in it.

      However, you can get ribbons with Olympia spools from Jay Respler. You can email him at JRESPLER@SUPERLINK.NET with your query and he can provide ordering information. His prices are good and he has a lot.

  8. Thanks for the post. I just picked one of these up for $20. I've been wanting a super-portable.

  9. Dear J.F.

    Could you tell me how I remove the cover from my Olympia Traveller? I want to work the tension adjuster, but am not sure if I have to lift a lever or push a button to open the cover. A little afraid to break something off.

    Thank you, Milan