Lettera 22

Typewriter
Date of appearance: 1949 — 1950
Trademark: Olivetti
Manufacturer: Olivetti S.p.A.
Designer: Marcello Nizzoli
Made in: Ivrea, Italy
Dimensions: 270 × 80 × 370 mm
Weight: 3.7 kg
Tags: polytech, typewriter, 2a, 2b, 3a


The Olivetti Lettera 22 is a portable mechanical typewriter designed by Marcello Nizzoli in 1949 or, according to the company's current owner Telecom Italia, 1950. This typewriter was very popular in Italy, and it still has many fans. It was awarded the Compasso d'oro prize in 1954. In 1959 the Illinois Institute of Technology chose the Lettera 22 as the best design product of the last 100 years. The Lettera 22 is an oblique frontstroke typebar typewriter. The typebars strike a red/black inked ribbon, which is positioned between the typebar and the paper by a lever whenever a key is pressed; a small switch located near the upper right side of the keyboard can be used to control the strike position of the ribbon, in order to print with black, red, or no ink (for mimeograph stencils). Ribbon movement, which also occurs at every keypress, automatically reverses direction when there is no ribbon left on the feed reel; two mechanical sensors, situated next to each wheel, move when the ribbon is put under tension (indicating ribbon end), attaching the appropriate wheel to the ribbon transport mechanism and detaching the other. The model was succeeded by the Olivetti Lettera 32.

Lettera 22
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