czwartek, 13 czerwca 2019


And again... my first american typewriter ;)
I did some cleaning - to my suprise typewriter is in nearly mint condition. It still have factory oil on the carriage and cover rails.
It's also a very complicated typewriter to dismount the covers... It took a lot of unscrewing and planning :)
It is different than Olympias or Olivettis that I had pleasure to work on. The philosophy of engineers behind made it like nothing else around :) I like the design - it is in common to last line of Hermes 3000, the past 1970 ones (I value it the most from the 3000 series...). It's like took from some classic Sci-Fi movie.
So... for some time it will be my "english" typer - for correspondency, maybe some stories ;) Time will tell.

środa, 12 czerwca 2019

It arrived...

I'll probably type some reviev after I finish at least one of it ;) It travelled to me from US, past London, Warsaw and up to my little city ;) It took over a week.

Hope all will enjoy my commision to the CHT project in Paradigm Shifts!

piątek, 7 czerwca 2019


I came across something special again ;)

During the search of the auction site one typewriter caught my eye…

Olympia model SG3 with unique QWERTY keyboard and with “ ‘ “ key!
Not only newer did QWERTY typewriters was produced with polish specials, but also none of original layout (PRL approved) had this special mark - one single character making typewriter multilanguage (my theory: it was made for purpose).

I pointed out this facts before on my blog, so you can imagine how shocked i was :)

I written to the seller and asked about the details… how it works, what is the condition etc.
And he claimed, that this specific typewriter was his friends, who worked in Vatican for almost entire life.
Well… that was some explanation - such typewriter would never be made for Polish market i believe… but for Vatican was entirely different matter.

I catched the bait… And had it after two-three weeks: I was searching for somebody to deliver it to me - it was too big to send it by post and not to risk any damage.

Well… It doesn’t work yet. I cleaned it and there is some problem with space-bar - it blocks the carriage. Without the shell it work perfect, but when I assembly it after cleaning the problem rise again. I’ll look to it - It’s probably some adjustments in the mechanism.

Anyway… I also figured out, that this is not original made keyboard.
I mentioned craftsmen, who modded foreign typewriters for private owners during the soviet regime in Poland. This is one of it… Altrought very well made!

This is one modded example:

Mine looks almost as original… There is slight difference in the polish specials on the keyboard (they are little brighter) and that’s it.
I figured out, cuz I couldn’t clean the hammers properly… The polish specials were welded in the place of old one - probably spanish.
Original hammer
Welded hammer

The seller don’t want to tell me the owner name… I’m making some investigation around the topic, and hopefully I’ll announce some additional info about history of this model soon :)

środa, 29 maja 2019

Something more.

Typewriters often carry their own story. In the past, they were well-ordered devices, which were looked after and often served for various people for many years. So when I looked at the Olympia SM3 on the internet with the Polish font, and with the unique arrangement of the keys, I knew that it was one of those.

You all know how SM3 is an excellent machine, but in Poland it was virtually unknown during her time (50’s). Like other Western models - produced in short series on order (probably government, due to the fact that all typewriters were subject to registration).
I have also Olivetti Lettera 32 (I heard from other collector about 1000 made with polish font) an Olympia SM9 and I know about few Brother models. There is also fair amount of Hermes Baby, but I didn’t see any 3000 series for example. And all of them are far newer than SM3.
I don't count Rheinmetall, Groma, Optima, Consul or Hebros/Privileg - these were made at the east side of Berlin Wall.
And even if the western model had polish typefaces… well it was the same for all of them. Virtually there is only one font available :) And only one approved key-set:

There is also a great amount of modded typewriters. Craftsmen were processing German or English machines for Polish characters. But these modifications are visible at first glance:

My Olympia have unique key-set, and for sure it is original:

It was bought in the UK, where a large part of Polish emigration settled after the Second World War. Especially the one who was afraid of returning to a country ruled by communists. So I have reason to believe that this is one of the few SM3 ever made with Polish characters for special order by individual buyers. And one of the few that could survive to this day.

And if we add to this the unique history of its previous owners: we have a really satisfying, uncommon type.
Thanks to a little bit of luck and the will of Ania (a granddaughter of second owner), I managed to find out more about the history of SM3 DeLuxe no. 647757.

This particular copy belonged originally to p. Tadeusz Ilnicki, a Polish painter living in 1906-1993, born in Podolia in Ukraine (it was part of the Polish state before IIWW)
His biography could serve as a tracing paper for the history of the Polish state. He was educated in Odessa to be arrested there during the purges of Poles in 1929, and then sentenced to three years in Archangelsk Gulag for the organization of the Polish resistance movement. He manages to escape and gets to France in 1930, where he continues to learn painting and stained glass. In 1933 he returned to the country due to the difficult financial situation (crisis in France) and settled in Wołyń (at his aunt's). There he works until 1939 and the beginning of the 2nd WW (in time fleeing the Volhynia massacre). He escape to France, and then England: where he enlists to the First Armored Division of General Maczek. After the war, he settles down in England and develops his passion for painting…

In 1976, the artist donated 40 paintings from his output to the National Museum in Warsaw, but his monographic exhibition took place only in 1985.

At the end of the 1980s, Polish Television made a film about the artist entitled "Man in a boat".
After the collapse of communism in 1989, Tadeusz Ilnicki returned from emigration to Poland. He settled in Warsaw.
The machine was manufactured in 1955, and it could be used to write correspondence, memories ... and describe paintings :)

Let's move on

I am not sure at what point Olympia was given to Mr. Edmund Bronowski (1924-2016), who was a family for Mr. Ilnicki (their fate strengthened in Wołyń, where Mr. Bronowski lost his father in a massacre prepared by Ukrainian nationalists). Probably gifted/sent from England in the 1980s.

Mr. Edmund Bronowski settled in Kętrzyn after the war, where he immediately joined the local community. He played in the "traveling theater" ZNAK, he belonged to the church choir and was involved throughout his life in numerous cultural events. From school events to activities in the Society of Kętrzyn Enthusiasts, Civil Defense of the Country, up to literary competitions - where I think Olympia was a very helpful tool.

From professional life, it is worth mentioning the work in the Tax Office, then the military recruitment command, in which Mr. Edmund came to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In retirement, he continued to actively participate in the life of the city, even becoming a councilor. He never thought about leaving Kętrzyn, which became his little homeland.

Mr. Edmund was actively involved in the life of Kętrzyn until his late old age. From what I learned from his granddaughter, Mr. Edmund also wrote about his memories of Wołyń, war wandering and other texts related to his interests.

Here's how he was honored in the local newspaper:

"You can go away forever, to be always close ..." Fr. J.Twardowski
With regret and sadness, we received the news about the death of Śp. Edmund Bronowski Councilor of the City Council in Kętrzyn in the years 1998-2002 A long-standing employee of the City Council of Kętrzyn. To his family and the friends: expressions of sincere condolences from the Mayor of the City Krzysztof Hećman, city councilors in Kętrzyn and employees of the City Council of Kętrzyn

I’m the third owner of this typewriter, and It’s history makes me wonder will I bear the burden of responsibility for continuing her glorious history. For sure I’ll try to pass it on, and keep the Olympia in the shape :)

As you can see, this inconspicuous, for the most part forgotten thing, can tell many stories. Especially to someone who will stop to listen ... :)

poniedziałek, 6 maja 2019

Stanisław Lem!

Today I want to introduce one of best writers of all times. Also one of that used typewriter.

First by some info from wikipedia, If you want to know more please click here.

Stanisław Lem (1921-2006) was a Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy, and satire, and a trained physician. Lem's books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 45 million copies. From the 1950s to 2000s, he published many books, both science fiction and philosophical/futurological. He is best known as the author of the 1961 novel Solaris, which has been made into a feature film three times.

Lem's works explore philosophical themes through speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of communication with and understanding of alien intelligence, despair about human limitations, and humanity's place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books.

Lem is one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction writers, hailed by critics as equal to such classic authors as H. G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon wrote that Lem was the most widely read science fiction writer in the world.

Lem’s works have been used in education, for example as teaching texts for philosophy students

His works were widely translated abroad, appearing in over 40 languages, though the bulk of them were in Eastern Bloc countries (Poland, Germany, and the Soviet Union). Franz Rottensteiner, Lem's former agent abroad, had this to say about Lem's reception on international markets:

With [number of translations and copies sold], Lem is the most successful author in modern Polish fiction; nevertheless his commercial success in the world is limited, and the bulk of his large editions was due to the special publishing conditions in the Communist countries: Poland, the Soviet Union, and the German Democratic Republic). Only in West Germany was Lem really a critical and a commercial success [... and everywhere ...] in recent years interest in him has waned.

But he is the only writer of European [science fiction, most of whose] books have been translated into English, and [...] kept in print in the USA. Lem's critical success in English is due mostly to the excellent translations of Michael Kandel.

Lem was awarded an honorary membership in the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) in 1973. SFWA Honorary membership is given to people who do not meet the publishing criteria for joining the regular membership, but who would be welcomed as members had their work appeared in the qualifying English-language publications. Lem, however, never had a high opinion of American science fiction, describing it as ill-thought-out, poorly written, and interested more in making money than in ideas or new literary forms. After his eventual American publication, when he became eligible for regular membership, his honorary membership was rescinded, an action that some of the SFWA members apparently intended as a rebuke,] and it seems that Lem interpreted it as such. Lem was invited to stay on with the organization with a regular membership, but declined. After many members (including Ursula K. Le Guin) protested against Lem's treatment by the SFWA, a member offered to pay his dues. Lem never accepted the offer.

In 1980 Lem was one of candidates to the Nobel Prize in Literature. The prize gone to other polish author: Czesław Miłosz.

Off the wikipedia, I’ve digged some more facts, about typewriters of course!

Lem used Underwood, that belonged to his father, and been given to him in age of 12. He written on it till the end (also letters), never switching on to computer. Quite strange for sci-fi writer and futurologist, but when personal computers hit the stage in 90’ (in Poland) - Lem had 75 years. As one of his friends pointed - It’s a pity, if computers showed two decades before, he would write twice as much.

Lem had a strange habit: if he didn’t like what he wrote he simply tossed out the page and started new. In letters he claimed, that when writing Golem XIV room was covered with pages so tight it looked like snow.
Later, when he couldn’t type anymore he dictated the pages to the assistant.

I’m not sure how many typewriters he used, but for sure it was at least two types :) Maybe you can identify the second:

sobota, 20 kwietnia 2019


I didn't have time to post any news recently... b'cause I've been typing ;)
This SM9 is my second. It's not in the best shape, but have v.nice typeface and all the special keys needed to write in "modern style", like: ; : ( ) ! ? " - _ % & and §. I could only wish for "@" for perfect keyboard.
Apart from It's visual look - it works v.nice, there is no comparsion to Traveller in the back.

It also is up for sale, if anyone interested. Details on demand.