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: