Let's begin with a digression: I'm not fond of Olivetti typewriters.
Now, I am basing this on my experience with a single machine, the Underwood 319 (sorry for the lack of photo, I have some image hosting problems to work out with some of my older posts, but here's yet another gorgeous shot from Machines of Loving Grace, which will also answer the question I know you have: "But Underwoods aren't Olivettis... are they?").
The 319's keys were aggressively plastic, the type action was sludgy and unsatisfying. The color could not more greatly have resembled the hide of an elephant. No thanks. Since it's just the two of us talking right now, I'll admit something blasphemous, but don't tell the others: I actually set this typewriter out--oh, it worked just fine, and was even clean-- as PC recycle in my building at work. That is how much I hated it.
Yes, I could have hunted a collector down, yes, I could possibly have sold it on eBay for $19.99, but all of that would have required me to further interact with the 319: securely boxing it up, paying a mint to have it shipped, etc. No: I wanted it gone. (Do I imagine that some IT guy marvelled at the find and now has it sitting in his IT basement next to his Simpsons interactive figurines somewhere below the massive corporate complex where I am employed? I do.)
(Allow me to add as a side note that the typing in the Strikethru masthead was done with this departed 319, its final act of service while in my posession).
Thus you may not find me jumping at the opportunity to buy the only apparent model of manual typewriter still being manufactured new: The Olivetti MS 25 Premier Plus Portable. But as for you, perhaps you like your machines fresh off the factory floor? Perhaps you are a typewriter completist who feels it is his or her duty to support the continued manufacture of this anachronistic survivor?
If so, you really must buy it from the Vermont Country Store. Proprieter Lyman Orton makes a delightful videorecorded argument for why you should do just that.
Sound of the Tbilisi Metro
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