A Pox on Olivetti Mex

This Mexican Lettera 32, which I bought out of curiosity for $30 AUD, compares well with my 1972 Lettera 32 made in Barcelona …


That is, until you lift the ribbon cover …


Horror of horrors! Plastic spools I can live with (when they can be replaced), but plastic spindles …


No surprise then, to find that the top of the left-hand spindle is broken.


You know how judges used to don a black cap before sentencing someone to death? Well it seems Olivetti decided to sentence their reputation to death by donning two of them …


I suppose I ought to be thankful the left-hand plastic cap (which sits precariously atop its broken spindle) hasn’t been lost. 


The other problem with this typewriter, you may have noticed, is its carriage return lever or lack thereof.


Aside from the inconvenience of having to be slow and deliberate when returning the carriage, carriage return and line spacing work fine.


I came across another Mexican Lettera 32 on the TWDB  listed as 1968. I would have thought that it (and mine) were Seventies typewriters, and certainly not earlier than my ’72 Barcelona. But what do I know. Not a lot to be honest.


Attractive sans serif elite typeface. The typing feel is good. It’s just tragic about the plastic. Was the damage to Olivetti’s reputation worth the cost saving? No.

6 thoughts on “A Pox on Olivetti Mex

  1. Sorry, I don’t speak (or write) English.
    La mia Olivetti Lettera 32 Made in Mexico ha la LEVA DI PLASTICA DELL’INTERLINEA (6) intatta e ben funzionante … Io la trovo molto comoda…
    Inoltre non ha rondelle (di metallo o plastica) per fermare le bobine del nastro: le bobine del nastro s’infilano su perni non filettati di metallo che si adattano perfettamente al buco (largo) al centro delle bobine.
    La macchina è abbastanza precisa e funziona bene… le guance di plastica ai lati del carrello, rendono più cupo (meno metallico) il rumore degli ingranaggi…
    Carattere Pica.
    Viva la macchina per scrivere !
    25. VIII. 2019 . Massimo S. -BN -Italia


  2. I still have an old mexican one from my college days, much like this one, still with the return lever intact, however, the spindles are metal, and the font is a serif one, much like the one listed on TWDB as a ’68 model.

    I’ve been wondering if the serial number is the one located on the right side, and if there’s way to verify what year it was made.


  3. I try to avoid these Mexican machines. They’re really only worth using for parts – being that most of the carriage and the escapement were parts not locally produced or scrimped on.


  4. That is a great example of being penny wise and pound foolish.

    I have a Mexican Lettera 22 which is also a parts machine with a broken return lever.


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