Olivetti Lettera 36 sq

August 29, 2008


Olivetti 36 sq

Originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.

As predicted, my foray into typewriter is growing. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s because they are reasonably cheap on Craig’s List and Ebay. Maybe it’s my need to rescue them from the recycle junk pile; or having spent some time looking at the photographs on the internet and then wanting to test drive these machines. It’s like automobile collecting only less expensive. Each machine has a different feel and mechanism and idiosyncrasies. Like any collecting habits, it’s the thrill of the hunt and the fun of restoration. For me, I wish I was more mechanically inclined to fix them but I don’t. I don’t collect many things. Some cameras and journals have amassed on the shelves. I’m not an oenophile. There was a time when I tried my hand at collecting modern first editions. It was always a gamble and my instincts were not that good.

The Olivetti Lettera 36 electric typewriter was designed by Ettore Sottsass.  Circa 1972.  Built in Spain Facility.  Though this particular model has square instead of the oval key.  The black cover part comes completely off where as the Oval Key version, the black cover swings forward on a hinge.

Then there’s the typeface.

I don’t think about hyper text so much when I’m writing on paper or typing.  One good thing that came out of it is that I have typed up some of the journal entries from 1994.  I was surprised at how many dreams I recored that seem to be vivid as today.  Looking back I should have kept up with this method as it is so tangible a record of that time.  After the internet and blog era of on-line or computer journals, I often forget to print or didn’t think they were that important to print.  Most of which were lost.  Handwriting in a journal bound seem to me more permanent.  At that time, I wrote in all capital letters, practicing my architectural handwriting.


UPDATE:  I recently sold the Olivetti with the oval keys to another local typewriter collector, Rick Seifert.  Here’s his post about the repaired Olivetti


Mystikal Arrival

August 18, 2008

Mystika Journal

Mystika Journal Arrival

Previously: mystikleather

The packaged arrived far away from Lima, Peru. I am so grateful to Boris for the care and thought he put into this journal that we collaborated on. The packaged arrived with colorful stamps. I didn’t expected that it came from over seas. I thought it was a site from the United States. There is something exotic about it. Receiving foreign correspondence is exciting. I just imagine the long journey it took to arrive at hands. There are different protocols for handling mail. Apparently in Peru, a photo ID is required on the package. It felt very personal, as if the package arrived from a friend. When I open the package there was s sweet smell not of ranking leather but something subtle and hard to describe. Perhaps it was the paper inside. I think it is the leather.

clasp open
clasp closed

Clasp Closed

One of the unique design that Boris devised is a clasp closure. Often some of the journals have a belt and loop to hold it together. Such journals are difficult to store with the other flat journals stacked vertically together on a shelf. Boris’s clasp design has is hidden and hold the book together.

Mystika Journal pencasting

Fountain Pen Ink on Mystik paper.

Mystika Journal UW

Mystika Journal is very thick

The picture he sent me looks thinner. The actual journal is the size of a thick 700 page paper back novel.

The leather is a cover for a think brown warm tone paper that I haven’t seen before. It take the imprint of the fountain pen and ink just fine with no bleed through.

Among other things, I plan to collect all of the South American writer’s quotations in this thick book to help fill in the days.


August 10, 2008

Mystik Journal DNL

Photograph by Boris

Today, I received an email from Boris which included this photograph.  I collaborated with Boris of mystikleather to create this new journal.  One of the unique ideas of Mystikleather is that you can give them a design of your own and Mystikleather can make it appear wonderfully on a cover of the leather journal!  I got to know Mystikleather because of a comment that was made about the Amalfi paper.  After looking at their website, I became excited with the idea of creating my own unique journal with a design that I had created.  After several email exchanges with Boris, we came up with this fine journal in a short amount of time, about a week. This is impressive work and the delivery, which I’m looking forward to receiving, occur within all of one week.  So now you can personalize your very own journal not with just a monogram but also your own mark, a logo, an emblem, or a symbol that represents you.

cross square

This is the design I emailed to Boris.  It’s a small piece of design which somehow I think matches the name of Mystik.  The JPG file is quiet small as it was design in a logo format.  The picture is of an actual size of the logo.  I’m impressed that Mystikaleather can enlarge or reduce the scale appropriately and to one’s own specification on the leather cover.  The funny thing is that I’ve always wanted to put this design on the cover of my journal.  I’ve thought of converting it into a book plate in a form of an ‘Ex Libris’, or just past it on the front of the covers of some of my existing journals.  Now I can place it more permanently incised onto a beautiful leather material.  This give a whole new meaning to customizing you journal.  I’m quite pleased with the results.  I can’t wait to start using it and will report further on this journal.

Price and material available here.