03 March 2012

Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32


The Lettera 32 I bought on impulse on Etsy is here. It works better than it did, probably because it is warmed up (it was cold when it was delivered).

It is very similar to my Lettera 33 and I prefer the Lettera 33. At least I got to try out something sort of new. When I put the nuts back on to hold the fresh ribbon, I did not tighten them much and that is why the type is odd. It wasn't advancing until about halfway when I corrected my mistake.

That system of advancing the ribbons is a very good idea. Spools can come free if the typewriter is jostled enough. I suppose in the past this wasn't an issue because most people did not send their typewriters anywhere through the mail anymore than we mail our smart phones now. The Corona 3 also has a similar system, except it is different. The Corona 3's spools are both designed to take up the ribbon, and one tightens and loosens the spools to change which is actually engaging the spool to advance the ribbon. A very primitive, but effective, means of reversing the ribbon. Because they are so visible, this is not a problem (with later designs, one usually cannot really see the ribbon or spools advance easily without opening the typewriter).

The Lettera 32 is an interesting "upgrade" I suppose of the Lettera 22. I do not see any particular advantage over the 22, so I do not understand why they went with the rather different mechanical design. The 22 is, I hear, easily to repair than the 32, and the 22 is flatter. Perhaps there was a perceived improvement in lengthy typing experiences. The thin space bar, which is thinner on the 32 than the 33, is an odd design. With the Smith-Coronas (my preferred typewriters) the spacebar is very well designed to be easy and comfortable to use. With the Letteras, one can miss it or hit the frame even with skilled touch typing. It was an odd design in an otherwise well made line.

Here is a unprofessional photograph of mine:

Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32

8 comments:

  1. I too have noticed that cold can make typewriters sluggish. It may mean that there is some old grease that would benefit from some cleaning.

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  2. I have been in a lot of offices filling out forms lately, and have been tempted to rent them typewriters but I can't decide on a price and would need to figure in the maintenance.

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  3. Here the 22 and the 32 are compared: http://manualentry.blogspot.com/2011/09/lettera-22-and-32-comparison.html

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  4. Has anyone had a problem with the ribbon on the 22 not reversing? Any idea how to fix this?

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    1. Ribbons can fail to reverse for a number of reasons. Have you tried manually reversing it?

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    2. How does one manually reverse it?

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  5. My 32 reverses of its own accord when winding from right to left. The friction of the ribbon in the guide slots is sufficient to draw the 'tumbler mechanism round and consequently reversing it all From left o right it is fine. Obviously it is easy enough to rewind the spool manually when it has transferred and then stat typing again; but I like things to work as they should. There doesn't seem to be quite enough tension on the spring to stop the little pawl passing over he cam, this is the only way I can describe it. Everything seems clean ad is just lightly oiled with typewriter oil. Any suggestions welcome, thanks.Joe M.

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  6. I bought a 32 on ebay recently, and the ribbon was not auto reversing. I took the bottom off and found that the two arms had gotten crossed, that connect the reverse mechanisms on either side. They're thin and flimsy. So when I uncrossed them, it worked as it is supposed to. I presume the 22 is a similar design around this so if the ribbon is not reversing, that might be something to try. Seems like it might get jostled during shipping.

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