Another acquisition from a charity shop. It came in a case with a working zipp and carrying handle and was in good working condition. As it had not been used for some time it came with the usual ‘musty’ smell.
The serial number was found to the right side of the bell. The number 622428 indicates it was manufactured in 1968 and by Olympia Werke AG, Wilhelmshaven, West Germany as shown by the place on the back of the machine.
Comments on the design
It has a slim design, a feature that was prominent in the German patent of 1955 by the Typewriter design engineer Anton Demmel along with his revolutionary typebar actuating mechanism. The machine itself is 29 cm long, 30 cm wide and 8 cm deep. Inside its case these dimensions are respectively 32 cm, 32 cm and 9 cm at their widest point. Without its case it weighs 5.1 kg.
A ‘dead’ key could be provided (no. 19 above) so that the carriage key is not moved when it is depressed. This is to allow typechanges for accents. In the typewriter described here the key types the ‘+’ and ‘=’ signs.
A 3-leved touch adjustor is located under the cover with the lightest touch provided when the lever is pushed fully forward.
A way to create right hand margins as straight as the left is described in the instruction manual.
History of the Splendid 66
The roots of Olympia typewriters go as far back as 1883 when the “Allgemeine Elektricitäts Gesellschaft” was founded (see Mignon).
1903 Union Schreibmaschinen-Gesellschaft (Mignon typewriter)
1923 AEG Deutsche Werke A.G. (AEG typewriter)
1930 Europa Schreibmaschinen AG (Olympia typewriter)
1936 Olympia Büromaschinenwrke A.G.
1950 Olympia Werke West GmbH, Wilhelmshaven
1954 Olympia Werke Aktiengesellschaft, Wilhelmshaven
In 1903 AEG (European General Electric) entered the growing market for typewriters by developing the Mignon mechanical index typewriter which was produced in various forms up to the 1940s. In operation a pointer is moved across a curved rectangular character index to select the desired character. A printing key is then depressed, forcing the character and the ink ribbon on to the paper (see image of Mignon below). The predecessor of the Olympia was the ‘AEG typewriter’ introduced in 1923 being finally renamed Olympia in 1930. As a result of the Russian occupation after the 2nd World War many employees fled to West Germany where the company was re-established in 1948 in Wilhelmshaven where this typewriter was manufactured.
The development of Olympia’s ‘slim’ portable typewriters was possible due to Olympia’s lead typewriter design engineer Anton Demmel patenting his revolutionary “typebar actuating mechanism” in 1955. Demmel claimed that previous efforts in changing the transmission ratio of the lever systems of ultra-slim portables had not obtained “the optimum striking velocity”. The SF portable was launched in 1956 and two years later became the Splendid series (33, 66, 99). Later designs included the SM series.
Sources of information