A Wedge Too Far

Admittedly, my interest in wedges (and use of puns) may have gone too far, but how are you meant to evaluate one wedge if you only have the one?

This Mario Bellini  designed Olivetti ET Personal 55 electronic typewriter follows on from my first wedge experience – a Japanese-made Brother CE-30.


So  how do these two 80’s wedges stack up?


As you can see, they stack up surprisingly well!

In favour of the Brother Ce-30:

  • One piece lid is more secure and generally feels more robust than the flip lid and keyboard cover of the ETP 55
  • Brother wedges have a better printwheel mechanism. The Brother printwheels are easier to insert – unlike the ETP 55 you do not need to remove the ribbon cassette first – plus Brother printwheels come complete with a tabbed plastic sleeve. By comparison, the exposed Olivetti printwheels seem vulnerable and naked
  •  The Brother does not pretend to be something it’s not (it’s a Japanese wedge made in Japan – the ‘Italian’ ETP 55  was manufactured in Singapore)

In favour of the Olivetti ETP 55:

  • The Mario Bellini design (of course)


I liken it to a Star Wars  Kom’rk fighter ship – a product of its time, yet futuristic…




  • Smaller and lighter than the Ce-30…


  •  A softer, quieter typing action compared to the action of the CE-30 which I likened to a nail gun
  •  The ETP 55 came with this very nice Esteem Pica 10 printwheel…


Personally though, I prefer the down-to-earth appeal of the Brother CE-30.  I’ve never been much of a Sci-Fi fan!


10 thoughts on “A Wedge Too Far

  1. Do you might have a copy of the manual, in English, of the Olivetti ET personal 55 for me?


  2. I need to agree with you on the Brother. The Olivetti looks like a child’s toy. Now if the Olivetti wedge resembled the Praxis 48 it would be much nicer. Manual Olivettis look like they can take over the world.


  3. This greatly pleases me because though I prefer manual machines by far I often insist there is not enough love on the typosphere for wedges and electric machines. And that is a pretty stylish wedge!


  4. That Bellini design really does have style — it shouts “eighties” to me! — but I’m afraid I’ll never see electronic typewriters as living things. Unlike manuals, which are of course alive, and electrics, which are on life support.


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