Olivetti Lettera

The fifties were a period of rapid change in the typewriter market. Manufacturers began taking compact portables seriously, especially after seeing the success of Hermes, Olympia, and Olivetti with their compact portables, which were being imported to the United States in growing numbers. Underwood was dying on the vine, while Royal merged with McBee Corporation, and Smith-Corona bought out Marchant Calculator, forming SCM Corporation. Underwood still possessed a nationwide dealer network, and Olivetti, having struggled to gain a foothold in the American market, saw it as a huge asset. They purchased Underwood Corporation, and began to replace Underwood's portables (which had a reputation of being increasingly shoddy) with Olivetti designs. (However, the Underwood standard continued in production through 1970.) 

Olivetti-Underwood Lettera 32. Formerly in the Bodemer Typewriter Collection
1963 saw the introduction of the basis of every subsequent Olivetti portable--the Lettera 32. This was a re-engineered Lettera 22. It was a compact portable, with a keyset tabulator, two color ribbon, and a zippered carrying case. In 1965, they introduced the Lettera 31/Dora, a Lettera 32 in a modern plastic housing. 1966 saw the introduction of the Lettera 33, a Lettera 32 in a leather-grained housing with aluminum trim.
Olivetti Underwood Lettera 33, Bodemer Typewriter Collection


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