Olivetti Makes it Personal

Enigma /i’nigma/ a mysterious or puzzling thing

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th edition)

There are Enigma machines and then there are enigmatic machines, like the “Olivetti ET Personal 60” as advertised in The Guardian in the UK on the 25th of March 1987:

It’s not just the “prices” that seem like typing errors. As far as I know, no such typewriter as an “Olivetti ET Personal 60” exists. The Olivetti ET Personal 50 and the Olivetti ET Compact 60, on the other hand, are known entities.

The ET Personal 50 is a March 1986 re-release of the 1983 Praxis 20, so perhaps the ad above is meant to say “50” not “60”?

Or perhaps the ad above is meant to say “ET Compact 60”?

Advertisers often get the model name or the model number wrong, of course, and on some occasions even manage to get the illustration completely wrong. Take for example, this ad posted in the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal on the 27th of March 1987:

There I was scouring the Internet for an electronic update on the Olivetti Lettera 25, before the penny dropped (after seeing this ad, posted in the Chillicothe Gazette (Ohio) on the 10th of April the same year):

Probably the safest thing for a cut n paste artist to do (back in the day, these days it’s all digital) was post an ad without an accompanying picture (old fashioned logos excepted):

We all make mistakes. I think I may have mistakenly said somewhere (possibly parroting another online source) that the ET Compact 60 was a re-issue of the Praxis 45D. That’s completely wrong. Had I bothered to do a visual comparison before now I would have known.

The Praxis 40, 41, 45/D are compact machines (12 cps, 9.8 kg in the case of the 45D) whereas the ET Compact 60 is a smaller and lighter (10 cps, 7.2 kg) PORTABLE machine, despite its “Compact” name. No wonder the advertisers got confused!