Olympia SM4


This machine is like a bad addiction: once you get your hands on it, you can’t stop. It has the same crisp, cushioned feel of an SM3, though for some reason I find the carriage shift on the SM4 heavier; in fact, it feels like my SM5. I bought this one from a young lady who it was a gift but didn’t use it anymore. The white body has age-related stains which resemble big freckles, and the labels on it show it was serviced a few times. It came with the original instructions and a cleaning kit, and the case is in good shape. I really like the keyboard tab system, which make setting tabs a cinch. Unlike my SM3s, this one has pica Senatorial typeface, which I have come to like very much. Like my two SM3, this one is never far from the desk. You can read more about the differences between the SM3 and SM4 here.




Rheinmetall KST


I didn’t know anything about this maker until very recently, when a friend wrote a letter with one and noted that not many people know about them. Though they are not cheap for the most part, I found one for a reasonable price. I was crushed when I saw that the keys were frozen. Thanks to another friend, however, I was able to free the keys fully after coating every moving part with hot transmission fluid and penetrating oil. This is an unorthodox method, but it works, although I prefer denatured alcohol. But in dire circumstances (and I had a sinking feeling then), I turn to it gladly. The machine worked fine after that. Its only flaw is that it doesn’t always engage at the same point when I return the carriage. A firmer touch remedies that.

This KST is an excellent machine, one I also find very appealing. Some find the touch a bit stiff, but it doesn’t take long to get used to it. I find myself cruising swiftly when I write with it: the carriage has a buoyancy that is suited for heavy-duty work. I find the pica typeface on this one very legible and tidy. If given the opportunity at the right price, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another.




Olympia SM7





I’m a big fan of Olympias, and consider my SM3 and SG1 some of my best machines. I also have an SM9 but I never took to it. I thought the SM7 would be more like the latter, but I was wrong: the SM7 has its own personality. The feel is very crisp, and the keys make a beautiful “clack” when they hit paper. I was tickled by the Double Gothic typeface on this one, which has been getting heavy use. Oz notes in this post that James Baldwin was a fan of them, although he also used Adlers. Scott Schab, author of Typewriters for Writers, says he uses the SM7 when he wants to make an impression.


Hermes 3000 (1960s model)


I’ve had a thing for Hermes typewriters since I bought a 2000 model earlier this year. To that I added a Hermes 3000 (’70s version), a Hermes 10 electric and this ’60s Hermes 3000. My favorite remains this earlier version of the 3000, which is featured in “All the President’s Men.” It is a beautiful machine that exudes grace and power. Look at those curves! Unlike the later version, this one has a solid metal body; both are great typers. This one is in great shape, and was well taken care of. I found it interesting, however, that the “a” key will jump if my typing technique gets sloppy. I have the same issue with my 2000.




Triumph Gabriele 35


I didn’t want to buy this typewriter: it looked too much like my Adler J5. And, essentially, that’s what it is, at least when it comes to feel and looks. But this Gabriele has elite typeface, my favorite, and that won me over. Like most typewriters, it needed a cleaning and some bending of jammed type bars. After a few pages, it performed flawlessly. These don’t come up often, and I recommend getting them when they do. They are essentially Adlers, as pointed out in this Oz post, which calls it a solid typer. Curiously, the former owner, a certain Ubaldo (an Italian name), scratched his name  and phone number in Italy on the front trim. He also joined the margin stops with a string, something that baffles me and later jammed the carriage until I removed it. The keyboard has the lira symbol, something I have not seen in my other typewriters.



Groma Kolibri


I have several ultraportables: a Hermes Rocket, an Olivetti Lettera 22 and a Smith-Corona Skyriter. These are beautifully designed machines that can hold their own against beefier portables. But none have a design as striking as my Groma Kolibri. Another blogger remarked that this is the iMac of the typewriter world: it’s remarkably slim. But what takes your breath away is its unique, sleek design, which defies categorization. I find beauty in every typewriter I own, but none is as stunning as this one. It was made in Germany, but it has the “USSR” stamp on the back.




Remington Mark II


I decided to buy this typewriter after reading Oz’s post on it. It was designed by Carl Sundberg, one of the most influential typewriter designers. Oz also points out that these are relatively rare. Pedigree aside, the crisp action of this typewriter quickly endeared me to it. It has a wonderful feel that makes you want to keep writing. It’s the first machine I own that doesn’t detach from the case.