The Sixth Element

I’ve discovered a sixth element, to go with the five golf ball print elements I already own…

I’m not sure what the two numbers on the cap relate to.

Three holes on the cap allow the ball to be secured on a plastic base …

Before being encased …

The Olympia “i” logo on the base is clearly visible …

This element is relatively hard to find and was used in the Olympia SGE 75 (1975)

As far as I know, the SGE-75 was Olympia’s only German-made kugelkopf (golf ball) typewriter. According to the Kleines Schreibmaschinen Museum, 10, 000 SGE 75 typewriters were manufactured.

Another “Olympia” golf-ball typewriter did exist – the SGE 77/77C (developed by Hermes, 1977) was advertised for sale in the USA and Canada …

The Abbotsford News (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada) · 1 March 1978

15 thoughts on “The Sixth Element

  1. Just recently, I found a listing for a Hermes 808 on sale on for 50 Swiss Francs. Looking at the pictures in that listing, I found that the elements it used weren’t Selectric elements – but they had a lever on the top and teeth on the bottom, thus being more similar to a Selectric element than any of the others.


  2. I’ve seen April 1978 advertising showing a Facit golfball for Facit 1850 Single Element Correcting Typewriter. It has a flatter top than those on a Selectric ball and no teeth on the bottom. So in that respect it looks more like the “cap-less” Adler ball. 😉


  3. Following the link to the Kleines Schreibmaschinenmuseum, I see that this typewriter is actually the Olympia SGE 75. Using the correct model number, I find it won a design award in 1975, and I do find a few links selling ribbons, and, for the SGE 75 C, correction tapes.


  4. The 96-character elements, of course, won’t work on an 88-character typewriter at all. All the 88-character elements will fit, and type, although because some have different arrangements, some characters will type with the wrong force.

    There are several different 88-character elements. The little-known Mag Card Executive used 88-character elements with the characters in the same positions as a normal 88-character typewriter element, but they were proportionally-spaced in typestyles very similar to, and having the same names as, those on the later 96-character Electronic Typewriter 50.

    And not only did the Selectric Composer have a different layout of characters on the element, so did PTTC elements for terminals like the 2741. As well, in the early days of the Selectric, the elements had a different ordering of characters for every language market, so you couldn’t use a French Canadian element on a U.S. typewriter. This was changed fairly soon, because being able to use elements for different languages became apparent as an additional benefit of interchangeable elements.

    So if you go beyond treating the 88-character and 99-character elements as different, while the Composer obviously stands in isolation, things can quickly become complicated.


  5. I was expecting the elements for the Facit single-element typewriter to be the sixth element. This one appears to be so rare that your site is the only mention of it on the whole Internet! And with teeth on the bottom for the rotate detent function, it is closer in design to the IBM element than any of the others, without being compatible.


  6. different cap markings, yes. IBM 88 = white, IBM 96 = yellow, Composer = white text and either red, blue or yellow arrow, depending on point size.


  7. are you counting the 88, 96 and Composer elements as different iterations, or do you group them as one “Selectric” element style?


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