Thursday, August 18, 2011

Can I Blog on This?

For many of our youth mention the word typewriter, and they probably would not have any idea of what you are talking about, let alone having actually seen one. In today’s world of technology the word typewriter seems almost obsolete. In its place we have PCs, Macs, notebooks, and tablets. All these can be highly mobile devices so that we can remain connected and even blog no matter where we are.

Before these items became the norm if we wanted to express ourselves while on the move, paper and pen came out and we actually wrote down our ideas.

When it came to the manufacture of typewriters nobody did it better than the Italians and especially Olivetti. Vintage and antique typewriters have become quite the craze over the past few years and Olivetti is right in the thick of it, especially the stylish Valentine! This typewriter made history in 1969 as soon as it came off the assembly line.

Designed by Ettore Sottsass and Perry A. King, this small, lightweight and bright red typewriter quickly developed into a cult object with its own dedicated following. For the fashionably hip this was the ultimate accessory (like today’s ipads). It was a design statement more than an office machine.

Sottsass designed the Valentine to be an "anti-machine machine," for use "anyplace but an office. Advertising put the machine at the beach, airplane cockpits, in the ski fields, anywhere but the office.

Undoubtedly one of the great design classics, the Valentine expresses the mood of its time: goodbye to the bulky cast-iron housings of old typewriters, hello to the new mobility of a light, modern, plastic casing made from ABS.

It was the unique and sleek design combined with clever advertisement of the Valentine that brought Olivetti to new heights. Aimed primarily at the youth market, with psychedelic advertisements this was no ordinary typewriter.

Here’s what its designer Ettore Sottass said about it:

“The Valentine was designed to keep lonely poets company on weekends in the country.”

In comparison here is what the makers of the Blackberry Playbook said recently about their product.

“We remain excited and committed to delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the U.S. market together with our carrier partners,” the company said. “Testing of BlackBerry 4G PlayBook models is already underway and we plan to enter labs for network certifications in the U.S. and other international markets this fall.”

Enough said!


  1. Wow ... how interesting! I adore vintage typewriters and have been tempted more than once or twice to snap one up while antiquing {the only thing stopping me is my limited space at home!}

    As usual ... I always leave your blog a bit smarter with some new fun facts in my arsenal ... love it!

    Have a lovely evening!

    ❤ Cat brideblu

  2. funny how the word tablet has been hauled
    out of the dust bin and reimagined. i mean,
    didn't our great grandparents use tablets with their primers?

  3. couldn't have said it better than with those two quotes.

  4. So great David!!That is just the coolest typewriter and now I want one badly, even more than a Kindle. Ha!


    Art by Karena

  5. I did have a laptop-Olivetti myself. Mine was greenish though, not red.
    It was already in the late 70's, I'm not that old :-)

  6. Hello David:
    Our only vintage typewriter was a Royal we are sad to say, not nearly so much fun as the Valentine and, no doubt, twice the weight! But, how we wish we had it now as we are really rather fond of vintage typewriters. Will the Blackberries and i-Pads ever induce so much passion?!!

  7. I'm overwhelmed with nostalgia for my early days in the office. Thanks for this David!

  8. How interesting that you should post about this today. Yesterday we dug our our previous laptops, (mine bought in 1997, and my other half's in 2000). Even the change in these compared to today's gadgetry in the computer department is truly amazing.

    Thanks for stopping by. I don't know why I haven't read you previously. Today rectified at least!

  9. I actually own a typewriter :)
    The graphics are great!

  10. A great posting! I learned to type on my grandfather's huge black Smith-Corona typewriter, which probably dated to the 1930s. I still own a Hermes that was a highschool graduation gift from my grandmother. I never use it anymore, but for sentimental reasons, can't bear to part with it.

  11. Nice blog and post. :))

  12. i'm so glad you did! that line...“The Valentine was designed to keep lonely poets company on weekends in the country.”

  13. Yes, I must agree with you David, there is definitely something more romantic about a fabulously designed typewriter than anything with a '4G network.' I like how you put it! And the artwork is gorgeous to boot!! Hugs to you, I hope you have a great weekend,

  14. lovely photos! artwork is stunning!
    thanks for the comment!


  15. Many thanks all for being in favour of "lonely poets in the country"!


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